Across this year we have focused on various metrics in our blog--customer satisfaction, efficiency of operations, and creativity and alignment to brand. All are excellent and signal the rest of the organization that the Creative Department is one to be taken seriously as contributing to the goals of the rest of the organization. And there is a metric and focus that trumps them all - and that is project / campaign effectiveness to the client goals and corporate goals. How did your project or campaign contribute to the department/corporate goals? This might include measurements such as market share increase, revenue impact, product/service sales, brand awareness impact, and/or event attendance rates. With this perspective of tying your work to corporate goals you will really be seen as contributing to the corporation. So how does this approach work, and how are these metrics tracked?
Work from the Client's Perceptive
First, whoever is working with the client--and the rest of the creative team--has to adopt a "partnership" attitude with the client. Thinking of the client as the "enemy" will fail. If the client had the same creativity as your team, they wouldn't need you. They need your perspective and talent--that's why they are coming to you. Now you need to see things from their perspective. What are they getting "graded" on by their bosses that they need your help in accomplishing? More qualified candidates to recruit? More attendance to an event? Increased sales? Discover/talk with them about the goals they have to meet, so you can keep this in mind while creating the product. Who is the audience? In short, work with them in filling out the Creative Brief. The more you talk with them and understand their perspective, the better positioned you are to offer other professional advice as to what additional products they could use (you/the team could design) to help them attain their goal!
Trackable Call to Action ("CTA")
A basic and simple way to track effectiveness for a project is to include a measurable CTA. Include a URL with a registration form; suggest including a phone number that is manned for more information to track event attendance. With a print campaign designed to boost sales, include a unique URL to landing page with an e-form to capture a lead's information. Perhaps include an incentive for the first XX respondents to get something of value to them, e.g., a signed book by your CEO, a fun gadget that is related to your company's business that everyone wants. Whatever the CTA, make sure it is feasible and EASY/painless for the audience to do, otherwise they won't.
Work with the Client to Set Up Metric Tracking Systems
Just inserting a trackable CTA in the campaigns is only half of the solution. The other half is working with the client to track those results. The conversation with the client at the beginning of the project/campaign/year is to talk to them about how much better THEY will look to their bosses if they can tie actual results to their marketing spend. And it will help them spend their money more effectively from project to project throughout the year. Showing the client how THEY will benefit from setting up and following through with the tracking system will increase the possibility of them following through and it working. So, once a campaign begins and phone calls come in for more information: Who will be manning the phones? What hours? What information will you ask to increase sales? Who will be reporting that information to your client/you at a specific time/date EACH WEEK? The "shelf-life" on a campaign/product like this will only be a few weeks, so it is important that they and YOU are diligent about following up and ensuring the numbers and information is captured. Start following up with your client on DAY ONE of the campaign.
All this seems a lot of work, and it is a lot of follow through, but it is worth it.
First, it sets a longer mindset with the client than a series of "one-off" projects. You are their "go-to" department and better yet, you are their "go-to" contact. In fact, assigning one contact (creative, project/account manager) to that client is best so that projects can be built and increased through client knowledge and needs awareness.
Second, as results build and effectiveness ensues (as you eliminate what doesn't work and put dollars to what does work) marketing spend numbers and ratio to outcomes will make your client (and as a result you/the creative team) look good to their boss and management. You will get a reputation as the team who contributes to the bottom line and the "go-to" team.
Finally, of course, other project results tracking such as web analytics, click-through conversions, brand awareness surveys (before and after a campaign working with corporate marketing to survey key targeted clients) can also be used. Whatever the methodology, keep this is mind: tying your work with corporate results, i.e., the numbers, is what will show leadership that what you do matters to the bottom line. It will shift their perspective about your work and you!