As I spent my weekend nursing a monster head cold, I was afforded the rare luxury of reigniting my love affair with television. Armed with over-the-counter cold medication, Kleenex and my trusty remote I settled into my high thread-count sheets and conducted some serious channel surfing. After hours of being beguiled by ‘Bridezillas’ and intrigued by ‘Intervention’ I happened across one of my favorite movies of all times… ‘Dead Poets Society.’ I settled in and wrapped the movie around me like a warm blanket.
With the lure of popcorn, I managed to coerce my daughters into snuggling in to watch it with me. Perhaps it was the effect of cold medicine or the vapor from the Vicks but the movie quickly became a study in perspective. When I watched this movie as a teenager I remember celebrating their exuberant rebellion. In contrast my children were horrified as the plot unfolded and they quickly sensed the impending repercussions from the school and parents. As a parent myself, while I still celebrated the rebellion, I was acutely aware of the peril that accompanied it. This experience was heightened by the scene in the movie where Keating encourages his students to stand on his desk to get a different ‘perspective’ on things.
Again, I may plead the ‘I was on antihistamines’ defense on this but I got the brilliant idea to lead the girls into the dining room and let them stand on the dining room table. After they realized this was not a trick and that they should take advantage of this rare, albeit drug-induced chink in Mom’s armor they quickly scrambled up on to the table. After a period of silence which I mistakenly construed for deep, profound thought, I asked them to tell me what these brilliant thoughts were. The answers in respective order follow: ‘Man Mom, you REALLY need to dust the top of the hutch!’ ‘Do you realize you don’t have CFL bulbs in the chandelier? That is not very energy efficient.’ ‘Uh… I’m pretty sure I am afraid of heights now.’
Okay, okay… while the answers may not have been profound, they were indeed three very different perspectives from three very different human beings. Hold on people… I do have a point that pertains to business here… I promise. Slightly deflated by the lack of insight I was sure I was to gain from this experiment with my offspring, I began to think of how this pertained to advertising (okay I also thought of how it applied to relationships and the overall meaning of life but we’ll skip all that).
How do we mere, non-Robin Williams-mortals address a myriad of consumer perspective with one message? Did the message we so brilliantly crafted and carefully executed resonate with our desired audience? Did they make an apples-to-apples comparison to what we said or was it more like a fish-to-bicycle comparison? How do we know? There… I said it. Cats out of the bag. Horse is out of the barn. Elvis has left the building. The only way to know and the only way to continuously craft messaging we know is reaching our consumer is to track results.
While I am hoping there are those out there who are outraged that they just read this entire diatribe to get to the obvious, I am quite sure there are those out there who either: A.) Have been meaning to get around to tracking their media results OR B.) Had no idea you COULD effectively track your media results. A or B, it’s time to get moving. In an economic climate where every dollar counts, the investment you put in to your marketing efforts needs to be quantifiable.
The advertising agencies of today are not only embracing but encouraging their clientele to build trackable elements into every marketing effort. If they haven’t…. they aren’t the ones standing on the desk shouting ‘CAPTAIN MY CAPTAIN’ in your presence. If you’ve got questions about trackable marketing… we have answers.