Friday, November 10, 2006

Engagement Forces Marketers To Assign Value To Soft Measures

In my last post, I quoted a Coca-Cola exec asserting that sales are the bottom line, and any talk of engagement should reflect that. And then I asked, short of sales, can’t engagement also be hugely important if it ties to a pre-defined business outcome, like a changed attitude, preference or behavior?

Rob Fields at Marketing Pop Culture commented:
[T]he term tends to be misused by advertising people who are struggling to protect budgets by suggesting that advertising can be really effective at changing behavior. There’s a lot of thin ice if you subscribe to this path. Probably the safest course to chart is to make sure that the brand is clear about the objective for each campaign element. Why are we advertising? Why are we doing PR? Why do we have viral elements? So, while it’s unfair to judge every element on payback (how much do you get from PR, for example?), the ultimate objective is sales.
Fields pondered some more and concluded:
…I think the net positive with all of this focus on engagement is that marketers are now getting serious about how to place value on soft measures. What engagement ultimately speaks to is an attempt to develop an overall integrated measure. While that may be impossible, it’s also important to shift how marketers judge value for those perceptual and attitudinal measures that help create a holistic picture of how well a campaign is performing.
Are softer engagement-like measures ultimately incremental, componential scores that optimize the road to sales? Of course, this question applies to marketing and advertising initiatives oriented toward branding and awareness, versus direct response.


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