Marketing results are tough to measure. Sure, you can track CPM’s, media buys, and click-through rates, but when it comes to predicting success, it’s as illusive as the goose that lays a golden egg. Audiences are fickle, and creativity works in mysterious ways. That’s not to say that research and metrics don’t have their place, but in something as creative as advertising and marketing, you always have to leave room for emotional responses, competition, and content.
After all, if it was easy, then every product would be successful, every movie a blockbuster, and every book a bestseller. That’s why when there’s a lot at stake, people naturally (and desperately) want the numbers to support them.
A perfect example is the new job reporting terminology of “saved and created” the White House has started using. Just this week, the President reported that the stimulus has already “saved or created” at least 150,000 American jobs – so he’s now spending even more money to “save or create” an additional 600,000 more jobs. In an earlier promise he stated that his recovery plan will “save or create 3 to 4 million jobs in the next two years.”
The only problem is that can’t actually be measured. No one – not the Labor Department, the Treasury, or even the Bureau of Labor Statistics actually measures “jobs saved.” Even the New York Times reported that he’s using “macroeconomic estimates, not an actual accounting of jobs.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that when Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner used the term he got called on the carpet by Montana Democratic Senator and Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus: “You created a situation where you cannot be wrong” he said. “You’ve given yourself complete leverage where you cannot be wrong, because [using these terms] you can take any scenario and make yourself look correct.”
Apparently , the White House Press Corps is AWOL, or still on the Presidential honeymoon, but I think it’s time someone noticed – especially with trillions of dollars at stake.
By the way – how many thousands of jobs have been “saved” by CEO’s and business owners who got inspired reading this blog? I should get an award for something…
Marketing lesson for today: Create your own “non-measureable metrics” so you can’t actually be held accountable if the campaign fails.