“Measure, measure, measure, Aha!”
That was Eric Rodenbeck's message at a recent Creative Mornings/SF event. Creative Mornings is a monthly breakfast lecture series for creative types, and Eric, the lecturer, is one of the founders of Stamen Design, a design and technology studio in San Francisco. Eric and his team design and build maps and data visualizations for a wide variety of clients.
Eric showed us time lapse data visuals illustrating a number of things, including: the accumulation of near-earth satellites being discovered in our solar system; the start of trading on a typical day on NASDAQ; and the Astronomic Microlensing “signature” NASA scientists are using to find planets. He also showed some of the crazy, oddball scenes that are part of artist John Rafman’s Google Street View project.
Eric spoke about what happens when you just leave the telescope on. You measure, measure, measure, and inevitably the “aha” moment arrives.
Eric said that Stamen’s work illustrates, "A way of looking at the patterns without going so crazy you have to drill a hole in your head to let the pressure out."
Indeed, as Rafman’s Google Street project so vibrantly illustrates, if you keep the camera’s rolling, something interesting will happen.
The flip side, of course, is that you’ve got to have a pattern to measure – a regular drumbeat of activity –if you ever hope to achieve your aha epiphany.
Marketing requires a constant drumbeat of activity.
Social media has given small business owners countless ways to measure marketing activity. Never before have we had so many detailed indicators -- opens, forwards, opt outs, retweets, mentions, likes, hits, and Google Analytics -- to tell us whether or not our marketing efforts are working.
The challenge, however, is having the patience to execute a well-designed marketing plan combined with faith that your marketing efforts will pay off.
Unfortunately entrepreneurs often get frustrated because they aren’t seeing the bottom line impact of their marketing efforts as quickly as they would like, and they bail on an otherwise beautifully conceived marketing plan. Alternatively, business picks up and the entrepreneurs abandon their marketing efforts because they’re “just too busy to market.” When they finally get back to marketing, they’ve undermined their efforts by missing the beat. No constant drumbeat, no regular patterns, no aha moment.
Have good faith in your efforts.
My friend, The Sexy Grammarian, observed that the marketing she’s doing today will pay off two years from now. That’s not only a brilliant insight, it also points to the realization that you must execute your marketing plan with a certain amount of good faith if you ever hope to reap your rewards.
Here’s the good news, bad news, and bottom line for entrepreneurs.
Marketing isn’t easy. And while the social media frontier is immensely promising, it is also chaotic, largely unexplored, and constantly changing.
The bad news is that you might not figure it out your ideal marketing formula right away, but the good news is that you will get it right eventually if you keep trying and have faith in your efforts. And the bottom line is that you won’t know whether you are getting it right if you don’t keep track your efforts and observe the patterns.
Ken, I'm so flattered by this reference to my "good faith" in marketing, especially since I've learned almost everything that's served me in marketing from you and this blog. And I agree, without some measuring, it's impossible to see the value of almost any endeavor. Thanks for explaining this so succinctly!