Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Measurements Bother Me...

This week, I wrote a piece for school that talked about the Pepsi Refresh Project and how well the brand managed the integration of messaging across channels online and offline.

The look and feel of the campaign was so consistent that it really seemed like more of a continuous, online experience rather than a regular short-term campaign.

Everywhere you went, you saw the red, white and blue of the Pepsi brand and it was always associated with good ideas, doing good, and well, good examples of putting marketing money (grants) to good use. Good, good, good.

I came across several articles that talked about all the great results that were generated by the campaign--many in terms of the number of people who registered on the site, or ideas that were submitted, grants that were awarded and lives improved by the project.

Other articles focused on the lack of impact the campaign had on the sales of Pepsi product or on the misplaced emphasis on "false goals" such as the number of Facebook "likes" or Twitter followers.

How can this be considered a failure? If so many consumers interacted with the various components of the campaign, shared personal information, offered up their own ideas and then told friends, family and colleagues about the program... how could that be considered a failure?

Well, it didn't sell Pepsi, right?

Were Pepsi sales likely to fall anyway and this project actually reduced the drop?

Or was there a longer-term value to all the consumer data, brand interactions and goodwill collected?

I think there's more to social media engagement than a short-term assessment of impact to the bottom (or top) line.

At the end of the day, sales strategies are judged by their ability to drive sales. Marketing strategies should be judged by their ability to engage the market.

When marketing performs well, sales benefits in the long run.

The challenge is determining how long to wait before drawing the line on success or failure.

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