Following is a sanitized version of an actual email from a CFO to a CMO at a global 1000 company: "Congratulations on being ranked in the recent list of top 10 "most efficient media buyers." It is a reflection of your ongoing commitment to getting the most out of every expense dollar, and well-earned recognition. But I can't help but wonder, what are we getting for all that efficiency?
Last week I had the good fortune of attending the I-COM Global Summit in Estoril, a lovely coastal town outside of Lisbon, Portugal. I-COM, the International Conference on Online Media Measurement, is " an industry backed global forum for exploring measurement issues facing the Digital Media Industry, with the goals of international cooperation and understanding, information sharing and working toward consensus on Best Practices." That's what they say. Here's what I say: I-COM is a forum for bringing together global online metrics providers, as well as their constituencies, to share information, learn about best practices, debate issues, do business -- …
In the early 18th century, scientists were fascinated with questions about the age of the earth. It took the collective learnings of geologists, astronomers, and physicists (and a few chemists along the way) and over 250 years to crack the code. Thousands of man-years of experimentation traced some smart and some not-so-smart theories, but we got to an answer that seems like a sound estimate based on all available data. Why torture you with the science lecture? Because there are so many parallels to where we are today with marketing measurement.
Keyword segmentation is a way to group keywords according to how their owners behave on your site. We do not care if keywords are branded or non-branded; long or short; general or specific. We are just looking at actual performance: did the visitors from that keyword bounce, browse, or buy? Which keywords consistently delivered great customers, versus the ones that had sporadic or nonproductive traffic?
When responsibility for selecting critical marketing metrics gets delegated by the CMO to one of his or her direct reports (or even an indirect report once- or twice-removed), it sets off a series of unfortunate events reminiscent of Lemony Snicket in the boardroom.