No time left to measure #highered marketing, really?

March 12th, 2014 Karine Joly 5 Comments

Do you have time to check everything on your to-do list at work? I doubt it. Time is the only thing that has remained constant over the past few years. A day was 24 hours long before Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. And, still is.

While your work day might have expanded outside of the office with the help of your smartphone, this increase in your working hours hasn’t been enough to get everything covered.

When I attend higher ed conferences or take part in the class discussions of the course I teach on social media marketing for higher ed, I often hear marketing and communication professionals admit they don’t measure the impact of their initiatives. All of them would love to measure, but they just can’t find the time to do it as they already struggle to get everything else done.

My standard reply is always: “take the time to measure to find out what you should keep…. and stop doing.”

No time?

When I studied communication and public relations in graduate school 20 years ago, I was also told that measurement should be done after everything is done, at the end of the campaign — just before switching the light off and going back home. And, technically, it is true. You can’t measure something that hasn’t happened yet, right?

Right, but you need to define what you want to measure before planning to do anything.

Can you see the popular “Goals before Tools” mantra coming?

It’s been repeated ad-nauseam at so many higher education conferences, because we all collectively suffer from the new shiny object syndrome (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but also MySpace, SecondLife or Foursquare, remember these guys?) One of our top audiences in higher education, students, are known to be early adopters and often trend-setters when it comes to digital technology. So, it’s natural to be compulsive about making sure we don’t miss THE. NEXT. BIG. THING.

Anybody has tried SnapChat or What’sApp to reach out to students yet? ;-)

But, let’s go back to the “Goals before Tools” mantra for now.

I’d like to propose a simple edit to help all the higher ed marketing and communications pros find back some of our missing time.

How about we start using “Measurable Goals before Tools” instead?

By tying measurement to goals there is no room left for interpretation.

Let’s agree that we can’t pick a goal for our next campaign, project or engagement initiative if it can’t be measured. Period.

Can you see all the time we are going to save collectively by adopting a strategic approach to measurement?

So, everybody, please together now: “Measurable Goals before Tools.”