I did a fun podcast this morning with my friends Steve Hershberger (@sthersh), Blake Cahill (@bcahill), and Sean O'Driscoll (@seanodmvp). One of the topics we touched on was what my team measures on a regular basis to show impact. It was suggested that I go deeper into those points on my blog. So here it goes. We measure 3 things every month and deliver to execs; sentiment, volume and reach.
1. Sentiment; How do consumers feel about Windows? I use a monitoring tool to measure the sentiment of our brand according to how we want consumer to think about Windows. This is how we keep a pulse on our brand's sentiment. I believe sentiment for a brand is 95% driven by the products performance. Marketing can impact the sentiment in short spurts, for example today Windows has a new ad launching that promotes Win7 (see it here). This will affect our sentiment as a blimp but won't hold past the first few days. We use the sentiment blimps to help gage the sentiment for our marketing but it doesn't tell us how people feel about our product. Both data points are of interest but they mean different things. Marketing and advertising can be tweaked according to sentiment but mostly I'm interested in the long term sentiment for Windows7. We've seen a strong shift in sentiment since the Win7 beta was released in January. We've been able to use the sentiment tracking to gain feedback for our value prop and gage messaging that will resonate. Specific example would be if we positioned Win7 as faster and easer to use (which it is!) but our customers were saying it didn't really deliver on that promise (they're not), this would be a breakdown with our messaging.
2. Reach; We measure the impact our activities have in terms of impressions for Windows. If someone on our outreach team responds to a question on a blog or we post a status update on Facebook how much exposure does that get for Windows in the social web? Our team currently delivers around 6M impressions monthly across the social web. This is what marketers call 'Earned' media. We don't pay for it like a digital ad ('Paid') and I don't own the property like Windows.com ('Owned').
3. Volume; This measurement helps set the landscape, benchmark and do competitive analysis. If I have a brand that has low volume compared to other brands in the same industry then I know I have an awareness problem. This data can help inform a marketing mix strategy. Windows does not suffer from an awareness problem. There is a very high volume of conversation around Windows since we are in a launch year. I measure volume week over week to see if interest in the brand remains high, it does. I also use volume to benchmark against competitors launches and set expectations with my exec on what we can expect to see and what it means to blow it out of the park