There’s a trick question people ask when contemplating marketing performance

"What was the ROI?"

The problem with this question is a niggling truth that marketing professionals must contend with: there is no way to effectively measure Return on Investment. Why? Because so many factors impact a purchase decision, it is pretty virtually impossible to fully understand what actually drove the return (not to mention even trying to nail down what one “invested” is really difficult).

But that said, measurement is critical.

Even if it isn’t an exact science. We must measure to understand what is working (and not) so we can improve things next time around – or even in the moment if possible.

Smyle has launched our measurement practice, Metric, to help marketers evaluate the performance of their physical and digital experiences. We call it a “practice” because we recognise that we’re always seeking to get better, to refine and approve our approaches.

But the practice itself is based on decades of experimentation and experience in the world of experiential marketing, as well as an in-depth analysis of measurement best practices across industries. It also uses some very cool experimental methodologies. Let’s break it down a bit:

Traditional approaches done well: We have found that asking people what they think and expect to do is the best way to get inside their heads. Surveys and polls are not perfect, but we continue to hone our surveying processes and questions to get credible data into mindsets and behavioural shifts. We believe in surveys – which if done well can really provide useful insights.

New tools for a digital era. Technology innovation and the focus on virtual events gives us all kinds of interesting ways to track attendee behaviour within an experience. We can understand where people go and for how long at a physical event, and even more so with online experiences. The trick is understanding what data really matters and what to do with it – whether using it to understand what worked and didn’t, or even making changes during the experience to make improvements in real time.

Incredible innovations. We’ve developed a methodology as part of Metric called Return on Emotion – which allows us to analyse the emotional impact of an experience. This experimental approach uses technologies like facial analysis and biometric sensing to understand if the experience is making people feel what we hoped they would. 

When you weave the results from these approaches together it tells a very interesting story. Not ROI but definitely connected to the effect on business goals as well as a deep understanding of how the experience impacted the audience, with an eye towards always seeking better. Of practicing measurement so we can all become better marketing practitioners.

Published: October 2020