It's Raining, It's Pouring, But No One Was Snoring

Between the pouring rain and bolts of lightning, MediaPost held its first OMMA Metrics & Measurement conference at the Yale Club this past Tuesday.  The room was packed and the panels put forth some lively discussion and debate for the audience to ponder.  For those who were not able to join us, let me recap a few highlights for you:

Jeffrey Eisenberg, the CEO of FutureNow, started off the day as the morning keynote and sent us away with several key takeaways:

--        "Measurement gets an A-, but acting on the data gets a D." So many of us today are measuring things, but never taking the measurements and turning them into action plans to improve what we are doing with our Web sites and campaigns. There isn't any point in measuring if we aren't going to do anything about what the data is telling us.



--         "What are you measuring if you cannot draw a straight line from a Web metric to a line on your financial statement?"  This statement drew a little bit of flack from some in the audience, but isn't it true? Regardless of whether there is a conversion funnel on your site or if you are building brand awareness, all web metrics lead to a value-oriented transaction either online or off.

Chair-throwing almost ensued (OK, maybe not that extreme) at my favorite panel of the day, which was on Audience Measurement.  The first shot across the bow came from Quantcast's Adam Gerber to comScore in response to Josh Chasin's referencing the difference between "direct measurement" versus "panel-centric hybrid" approaches for audience measurement. Quantcast appeared to draw a very distinct line between measurement and what they call "Activation," or taking that hybrid approach to the next level to provide the value of demo and behavioral data in real-time to the buyer.  Between comScore's recent release of Media Metrix 360 and Quantcast's current trajectory, I think we are going to see some interesting innovation from both of these companies in the coming year.  (Kudos to Matthew Gay from Martha Stewart who sat between Josh and Adam, representing "Switzerland" in the hot debate on the future of audience measurement firms.) 

Rishad Tobaccowala, CEO of Denuo, kicked off the afternoon keynote with the quote of the day: "Avoid data diarrhea".  (A disgusting thought that I had a difficult time shedding for the rest of the day!)  Picking up from where Jeffrey left off in the morning, Rishad reminded us that you can get so bogged down in data and data analysis that you just miss the entire picture.  His two big takeaways:

--         "I've never seen clients make their decisions with data. They use data to justify their decisions." Business decisions always come from gut instinct on what you know to be true, he stressed.  However, you must use data to validate those gut instincts to ensure you are on the right track.

·-        "Pick your three or four metrics that define success and tie those to your business decisions."  Another way to look at his first point -- data drives decision-making (acting on the data).

The last panel of day focused on the popular topic of measuring social media.  Sarah Hofstetter of 360i had a resonating statement for that panel -- to create a "listening program."  She meant  that listening to what your customers are saying in social media is not a one-time effort or a project, but an ongoing and sustained commitment to understanding social media.

For more news from the conference, check out the MediaPost Raw blog or the feed on Twitter.  And if you missed the conference in New York, please join us at the OMMA Metrics & Measurement in San Francisco on July 31, when we do it all over again! 

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