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Any tailor worth his salt will always follow the old guideline of measuring twice to ensure that there is no waste of cloth and that the end result is exactly what the client requested. The same approach is used today in business where measurement and evaluation (M&E) are at the foundation of successful marketing strategies.

The business environment of 2015 has evolved to the point where the marketing function today bears very little resemblance to that of only a generation ago. The competitive brand environment now offers consumers more choice (delivered more quickly) than ever before. Those companies that wish to succeed in this environment need to unlock the marketing potential of both their brands and their organisations by harnessing new measurement and evaluation tools.

Many business executives still have questions regarding M&E and its benefits, amongst these being:

  • How does one define measurement and evaluation?
  • And what has changed over the years that results in us requiring the insights delivered via M&E?

How Does One Define Measurement And Evaluation?

M&E is a process using different methodologies, which are employed to measure and then evaluate a current marketing activity with a view to establishing its effectiveness against a set of measurable targets.

The concept of M&E is a relatively simple one – it’s a modern take on the idea that if you don’t measure, you simply cannot implement projects in line with strategy. Measurement of implementation is essential in order to fine tune strategy.

What Has Changed Over The Years To Make M&E A Lucrative Practice?

M&E is a lucrative and attractive practice because businesses now have access to the tools required for effective measurement, and no longer have to rely on instinct and gut feel.

The tools employed vary according to project and function. Measuring the outcome of a CSI project will differ from measuring the outcomes of a marketing campaign where a number of tools such as on-site insights, vox pops, in-store auditing, computer assisted telephone interviews and many others are used.

These tools allow for the objective measurement, evaluation and consistent strategy adjustment to complete the M&E cycle. This continual measurement and fine-tuning is in response to market conditions, which are never static. In fact today, success is the function of an ever-present drive towards customisation and personalisation, and M&E is an essential component to achieving this success on a consistent basis.

It’s important to realise that M&E is not a “one size fits all” process. The tools and approach vary according to industry, segment, and to a certain degree, channel. However, at the foundation of the M&E campaign are three core components of the cycle:

  • Measurement
  • Evaluation
  • Strategy

These components are designed to provide insights into the project or process under review. These insights are then presented to the client for further analysis and an evaluation of their impact on the strategy. The process then starts again – launching the next cycle of the “circle of innovation”.

According to Janette Fiander Account Manager at Interact, today many customers are using M&E strategies to measure the effectiveness of their CSI projects, amongst others.

“We find this quite interesting because it’s a hot topic for large corporates. 10 or 15 years ago, CSI was seen as almost a “grudge expense.” There has been a considerable shift in corporate expectations around CSI in recent years with a growing expectation by company stakeholders, customers and the general public that companies will engage in meaningful CSI initiatives that have measurable quality outcomes. They’re realising that M&E is the best practice for measuring these initiatives.”

“As an independent company, Interact is there to help clients drive strategy, whether it’s marketing or CSI. After years of working closely with some of South Africa’s largest and most well respected companies we’ve realised that you cannot “mark your own homework” – it is always best practice to outsource this important task to a business that is independent and not emotionally involved.”

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