Joe Marshall, Senior Strategist, has spoken many times this year at industry conferences about the importance of measurement to demonstrate tangible outcomes and ROI of campaigns. Here he explains why investment in measurement is so critical.
At Pegasus, we live by our vision of inspiring healthy decisions. That means we constantly ask ourselves whether our work has genuinely made a difference and changed behaviour to a healthier choice To find out, it’s imperative that we focus on measuring and evaluating the impact of campaigns – a key pillar of our strategic planning framework, CHANGE.
Measurement is about ensuring you and your client have a shared understanding of what impact your campaign is intended to have – as well as putting the tools in place to capture the relevant data.
Evaluation builds on this in determining the ‘so what’. In other words, it is about analysing the data you have collected, to understand its significance. By doing this, you not only gain valuable insights into how your current campaign has performed, but also you can extract key learnings that will help to shape and refine future activity.
Despite this, measurement and evaluation can often be left by the wayside. It’s sometimes seen as diverting budget away from other more creatively interesting elements of a campaign. After all, wouldn’t it be better to plough more money into activation?
The challenge is that this means we’re effectively working blind. Although a campaign might be considered a success, without a comprehensive approach to measurement and evaluation, it’s still hard to pinpoint which channels have worked best, identify areas to improve upon or even determine whether changes in behaviour can actually be attributed to the campaign itself.
That’s why measurement has been so central to the ‘Small Talk Saves Lives’ campaign we created for the Samaritans, Network Rail and the British Transport Police. The project encouraged rail passengers to look out for anyone on the platform who may be thinking of taking their life and directly intervene, interrupting their thoughts with small talk.
We worked together to design and deploy primary research before and after the first two phases of the campaign. This enabled us to understand how channel-specific campaign metrics, such as earned media reach and social media engagement, ultimately contributed to a significant uplift in intent to intervene among our target audience.
But it also told us that we needed to go further.
In fact, we identified a number of key barriers which still existed and were potentially preventing intervention. Chief amongst these was a lack of confidence – both in terms of knowing the signs of distress to look out for, and knowing what to say at the point that they decided to approach someone.
In short, while the people we’d reached with the campaign felt like they knew what to look out for and what to say, there were still seeds of doubt that might cause hesitation in the heat of the moment and ultimately prevent someone from intervening. This insight – one that we could only have arrived at as a result of building measurement and evaluation into the heart of the campaign – directly informed the strategic approach we took for the next phase of the campaign.
And on top of this, by mapping our primary research against Network Rail data, we were able to demonstrate that since the campaign launched, there had been a 20 per cent increase in the number of times that members of the public had acted to prevent suicide in the rail environment.
It proved genuine behaviour change identified through a robust approach to measuring impact.
You can learn more about our approach to campaign measurement by dropping Joe an email at firstname.lastname@example.org