Who says measurement has to be boring?

Last Thursday, I had the pleasure to present to over 100 people through our partnership with IABC Chicago about Communication Measurement Dashboard best practices. If you were there, I just wanted to thank all of you for all of your questions during my webinar! I really appreciated your energy and your questions have given me some ideas for future webinars to put together to continue to help communicators with their measurement efforts!

I promised my attendees that I would answer all of their questions … even if I couldn’t answer live. So, I thought the best way to do this is to post their questions and my answers out here on our blog.

Even if you didn’t get the chance to see the webinar, I think this Q&A can help you! A couple of my main messages:

  • Dashboards need to be an easy, simple, at-a-glance snapshot of your data.
  • Do not create one dashboard to be everything to everyone. Target them by your intended audiences.
  • You need to use metrics and behaviors to get a clear, well-rounded picture of what’s working and what’s not.

If you have a question about measurement and/or dashboards that I didn’t answer in the Q&A, go ahead and put it in the comments section. I love hearing what’s on your mind when it comes to this topic and I’m happy to answer your questions when I can.

If you haven’t already registered for updates on our website, please do so (top right of this page)! Due to the popularity of our webinar series with IABC Chicago, we will plan to repeat them later in the year and we’d love for you to join them!

Q: Are there good customer behaviors/proxy metrics for sales/conversions? In our business, most of our customers trade (“buy”) our products through a middleman or broker so we struggle to track conversations in that way.

A: The best way to define you customer behaviors is to map out your customer journey. What steps or transactions need to take place before they get to the middleman or broker?

What do they need to know, feel or do *before* they get to the broker in order to not only think of your products but to trade for your products?

I think if you start mapping out what behaviors you feel need to happen along the journey of getting to the middleman, you’ll be able to pinpoint behaviors that you can measure on your end of the sales process.


Q: Are you suggesting we survey EMPLOYEES about the behavior statements?

A: The behavior statements are meant to be used (asked of) your audience. They are created by asking yourself if you are successful in communicating about your topic, what will your audience know, feel or do because of your communication efforts.

So, yes, if you are in employee communications, you’re creating behavior statements with the intent of asking your employees their level of agreement to those statements.

If you are in external communications, you want  define your audience segment, complete the Know, Feel and Do exercise and then create the behavior statements to be used in surveys, quick polls, online quizzes, etc. after your campaigns are sent to your audience.

Q: Are there any plug-in tools to get better stats for Microsoft platforms like SharePoint? Gathering page views and doc downloads is a very manual process.

A: Yes, it sure is! This is where SharePoint/O365 currently falls short of a more traditional, formal intranet solution.

The reporting in SharePoint is VERY IT oriented. In order to get the reports you need, in a format you need it you’ll have to sit down with your IT department and talk through what data is available to pull and then have them help you configure and deliver reports accordingly.

There is the combo of using Power BI and Microsoft Flow to automate pulling the data on a set schedule and auto populating it into dynamic graphs and forms.

But, again, it’s not the most straight-forward, user friendly solution. Very IT heavy and you’ll have to know how to use both very well in order to get them to work together.

There are some very good third-party applications that work with SharePoint to make reporting much easier. That said, they aren’t cheap. Again, this is why some organizations make the business case to just invest in a formal intranet solution, as the cost of the solution includes all of these things right out of the box.

Here are some 3rd party solutions I’ve read about, but have not personally used, so I cannot speak to which ones I’d recommend, etc.


Sharepoint Vitals:

Piwik Pro SharePoint Analytics

CardioLog Analytics

Harepoint Analytics

Some people link Google Analytics to their SharePoint sites for a more affordable option and easier-to-use tools. With this option, you need to accept and be ok with your data metrics uploading outside of your organization.

Q: How do these internal comms metrics differ from or apply to external comms measurement?

A: Great question, and admittedly my presentation was focused on internal communications. I’ll be sure to tweak the title so that people know that ahead of time.

That said, the principles I taught were taken from my external marketing communication experience and can be applied to external communications.

You would start with your topic: What are you trying to communicate to your audience.

Second, define your audience segments and for each one, conduct the Know, Feel and Do exercise. If you are successful in communicating to that audience, what will they know feel or do.

You can create behavior statements to be used as quick polls on your website, follow up to your external audiences. But, more importantly identify anticipated behaviors that you need to track.

With external communications, you can focus more on the feel and do elements and apply sentiment analysis (do people have a positive, neutral or negative perception about your brand, product or service) and you can overlay Media Placement analysis: How many placements did you get, sentiment, and reach.

This part can get tedious, so you can benefit from a third-party to help scour the internet and conduct audience research to help you understand your placement, reach and sentiment for your external audiences.

Once you have that data in place, you can follow my approach to creating a dashboard that combines metrics collected and behaviors. The dashboard should illustrate whether or not the anticipated outcome was achieved.

Use the What, So What, Now What narrative formula to provide context and recommendations going forward.

Q: How do we avoid survey fatigue?
1) Understand everything that is going out to your audiences and when. Work with other department in your organization to plan and schedule accordingly. Can efforts be combined? Can some be skipped or pushed down the priority list?

2) FOLLOW UP with your survey results! Many times we send out surveys, collect answers, but we forget to tell our audiences how we used their insights! If people know it’s worth their time, they will take it!

3) Know that not everyone needs to get your survey all the time. If you have a survey where it doesn’t make sense to go out to ALL of your audience members, define who it can go to and use the Confidence Rate calculator to give you the number of responses needed to make sure your data is statistically valid.

4) Not everything needs to be formal survey! Use tools like quizzes, quick polls, thumbs up and rating scales to understand what’s working and not working when it comes to your content.

Q: We’re a global company that sends surveys regularly, but not tied to specific campaigns. What do you recommend to avoid survey fatigue?

A: See the answers above. And ask yourself ‘What are you going to do with the data when it comes back.’ If you don’t have a clear answer to that question, ask yourself if you REALLY need to send it? If you will do something with the data, make sure you tell your audiences what that is so they know their time was worth it!

Q: Is qualitative feedback as important as quantitative?

A: Absolutely! I only had 45 minutes, so could not dive into focus groups and interview best practices … but I’ll be sure to put one together in the near future!

Quantitative (surveys/number driven) data helps give you the numbers you need to benchmark. It also is typically what leaders pay attention to the most.

That said Qualitative (focus groups, open ended online comments, interviews) help complete the picture. They help tell the WHY behind the numbers and provide context as to what we’re seeing in our survey data. If done correctly, you cannot ignore what both the qualitative and quantitative data is telling you. It’s the ultimate one-two punch!

It is trickier to manage qualitative data, so you need to be strategic about when and how you use it.

Q: Can you provide more info/resources after this webinar on the industry benchmark that was on the dashboard? I think that is wonderful, but wondering how to collect that and make sure it’s the most up to date as we build these over time.

A: Yes, our benchmark is built on the 80/20 rule: we are trying to achieve as close to an 80 % favorable response whenever possible.

We have found that this rule of thumb is the most adaptable to organizations of all sizes.

Q: What tool(s) do you use to track emails, so that you can get metrics?

A: There are some limited measures with Microsoft Outlook built in, but please see my answer to #3. It’s not the most straight forward, easy process to get open rates just through Outlook alone.

Many of our clients have great success using tools such as Social Chorus, BananaTag, Poppulo, Constant Contact, Active Campaign and some use Sales Force, as they have better email metrics built in to those applications.

Q: How effective have you found A/B testing?

A: I love A/B testing, as it means we’re constantly learning about our audiences.

The key is to be purposeful – define what you’re trying to learn before you start switching things to to test. For example, we want to see if we can improve email open rates if it’s sent by a leader vs. the department. … and then summarize the results you found.

Say we find that sending from a leader improves open rates … now we try to dig a little deeper. What behaviors do we want to see PAST the open rates …what were we trying to do with the email? Was it achieved? If not, the next question is what else can we do besides adjusting who it comes from in order to achieve the outcome we’re looking for? How can we build on our previous success or learn from a previous ‘fail?’

Q: What tools are you using to create your one pager or is this done manually in Word?

A: Canva! Trying to lay things out or design anything in Word will drive you to drink, lol. I love Canva – it’s such a great, affordable tool that you can use for many different things!

Q: We have a very large, operationally focused company and we have a hard time getting directly to our team members in the field. We have to go through the store managers. Suggestions?

A: Yes! Build strong partnerships with Store Managers.

Create a monthly check in with them to have a conversation about their communication needs. How well are current communications are working, what are they hearing as far as top questions around company topics? Which leaders would the team members like to hear from the most?  You can even develop a quick poll to lessen the number of ‘meetings.’ But, I suggest talking to them at least 3-4 times per year to get a full understanding (see my response to question 7).

Can you use one of their huddle meetings per quarter to send a quick poll to the team members? Just five questions … but your chance to get feedback from them directly.

If you use Yammer, you can also create a ‘Field Chat’ that allows Field employees to ask a question at any time convenient for them … and you can have a process in place to answer them as quickly as possible. Maybe something to test!

Q: How to determine how much behavioral change is attributable to comms efforts when other team’s efforts are targeting the same behavior?

A: It does get tricky and measuring communication effectiveness isn’t always clear cut. There are so many variables!

The best thing you can do is to define your strategic topics and behaviors as described in my webinar and then plot out other campaigns/communications sent out on the same topic but by different departments.

Sometimes the timing of things can be very telling as far as what moved the needle … sometimes you may see that you NEED the other department communications to go along with yours to get the desired outcome.

Use the What, So What, Now What narrative formula to really paint the picture of what went out at the same time and what you learned from the data.

If you’re unclear about what contributed to some element of your communication effort, it’s ok to document that … in fact you should!

Q: Should you also include the negative info?

A: Absolutely. Measurement is meant to define what works, what doesn’t and why. If something is negative, use the What, So What, Now What narrative formula to help understand what we’re seeing, what we learned, why we think whatever happened did, and what we’re going to do about it going forward.

In my surveys, if I see a set of behavior statements that have a high number of disagreement, I first show the low numbers of agreement, then show the a graph that shows the high numbers of disagreement so that leaders can see we have a risk to communications.

This often leads to a healthy discussion of what we need to do about it.

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