One of the things I enjoy most about my job is finding out how our communications create customer value. At Shepherd we measure everything – or, at least we try to, and thanks to the wonders of Boolean search technology and digital cookies, we are more effective than ever in how we capture those data points.
Here’s just a few of the metrics that should be part of every data-driven practitioner’s tool kit:
- Audience delivery
- Audience demographics
- Audience interests
- Clicks and click-through rates
- Content downloads,
- Time spent on page
- Bounce rates
How we love dashboards! But, all of those digital metrics pale in comparison to the most important measurement of all: business outcomes.
I was reminded of it in a recent phone call with a sales executive who works for one of our clients. The purpose of the call was to gather information necessary to write an article about ways in which his company was innovating and the resulting impact on market segments.
Because sales executives don’t make money sitting in their offices, he was on his way to visit a customer when I reached out. Along for the ride was his technical subject matter expert for whom, as luck would have it, I had recently written an article on his area of expertise.
When I mentioned that collaboration to the salesperson, he said, “Really? I’ve shared that article with a number of my customers, including one who sent it to her management team. They’re following the advice to scale one of their product lines.”
Unlocking Hidden Value
Up until our conversation, neither he, his technical expert, or I had any idea of the way in which we were connected. Turns out that from that original article at least one customer (and, perhaps more) used it to prepare a thorough finance and operations analysis of their production cycles. The content provided a blueprint for how to best allocate resources in order to achieve optimal cost-efficiencies.
Some might call this the halo effect of good PR. That’s a bit too vague for me.
Taking a page from my old economics textbooks, I think the multiplier effect is a more accurate description. By that I mean that an input of some sort – in this case, customer education – led to a differentiated output that was larger in size and impact (larger, more profitable production volumes).
Without helping customers understand what a product or service represents in the broader context of an industry or business trend, any selling messages aimed at them are destined to fall on deaf ears. Today’s buyer is looking for more than features and benefits. They’re looking for how their world is evolving and why they need to adapt in order to enjoy the ride.