Measuring the Immeasurable

dandelion 2I was recently asked by the executive director of a big arts foundation, “How can you measure something which isn’t quantifiable?” He explained that he wanted to make the name of the foundation a household word, so I suggested that he first identify an audience, then run a benchmark survey testing:

  1.      the audience’s awareness of the organization
  2.      their perception of its programming and services
  3.      satisfaction with the programming/services

After a communications campaign to increase these things by x%, he would follow up with another survey. He could monitor social capital, as well.

Below is a model I compiled for a client who wanted to measure the success of a campaign to increase by 500 the number of college students who attend a performing arts event. I couldn’t have done it without having first read Katie Delahaye Paine’s Measure What Matters: Online Tools For Understanding Customers, Social Media, Engagement, and Key Relationships (Wiley 2011). She taught me that there are in fact so many ways to measure success:


Key Point Indicators How to Measure Why to Measure
The success of the campaign goal Tally student ticket purchases To gauge success of tactics and adjust campaign
Who purchased tickets, when, and how much did they spend at the event Box office data; credit card data To discover trends in timing of ticket purchases and recalibrate communications timing
How many students were undergrads, grads, or non-program; what schools they were from Captured at point-of-purchase or at outreach events such as conventions and conferences To evaluate outreach efforts to the individual schools and responsively build the outreach model
What faculty members brought groups Tally requests for college-teacher complimentary tickets To evaluate outreach efforts to the individual schools and show appreciation of those teachers
How students first heard of the event, what their favorite programs were, what they’d like to see at the next event, when they decided to attend, if they will come again next year, and if they have any feedback Promote hash tag and collecting email addresses at point of purchase or pre-purchase; notify students via e-blasts and social media of a post-event survey, and offer an incentive to take the survey To gauge satisfaction and effectiveness of communications, and to discover ways in which students can be involved
How much students spend on merchandise purchased at event Tally student discounts applied For a more accurate idea of return on investment
Effectiveness of messaging Monitor social media comments and ask on post-event survey To evaluate and tweak messaging
Social capital Tally re-posts, re-tweets, photo shares, links To evaluate what types of content are being shared and where, to gain an understanding of relevant content and active media channels
Timing of communications Compare the editorial calendar to visits, click-through patterns, purchases, hash tags, decisions to attend, purchases For an infrequent event, it is critical to get the timing of communications right
Top 20 influencers of college students Make note of where website, blog, and Facebook traffic comes from and where it goes To identify effective targets for communications
Strength of brand Daily monitor how many people you are reaching and what people are doing with your information once they receive it To react expediently in a crisis, acknowledge those who promote the event, and take advantage of positive conversations


About Ruth Zamoyta

ready scribbler

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