The key to designing
measurable communications is to create a set of
specific objectives, each of which is measurable,
for a given communication.
At GuideStar Research, we
use the Core-7
Communications Measurement Dimensions as a proven
framework of what to measure. It is our starting point
in developing measurable objectives for a given communication
whether it's print, video, audio, manager-led communications,
training, large group meeting or event, etc.
A measurable objective is
a simple, single statement that identifies the specific
item to be measured and quantifies the degree of attainment.
Together, a set of objectives define what is to be
accomplished by the communication.
For example, some objectives are:
"Readers will be able to identify the three goals
of the company as (goal 1), (goal 2) and (goal 3)."
or "Viewers will be able to identify at least
two reasons why the company's strategy of single-product
focus is key to achieving market dominance."
or "Attendees will have increased their confidence
in the marketing program for (product) by at least
25%." or "A majority of distributors will
increase their inventory investment by at least 10%
over the prior year."
The more specific and clear the
objectives are, the easier it is to design communications
that accomplish them and to measure the degree of
accomplishment. Defining communications objectives
begins with research. Similar to marketing, communications
also has its customers and customer segments, each
with its own sets of needs and preferences.
There are always at least two
sets of communications customers whose needs must
be met; the sponsors/senders of a communication (internal
clients, content resources, trainers, etc.) and the
receivers/users or participants (readers, viewers,
users, attendees, trainees, etc.). Both qualitative
and quantitative research methods are used to
identify and define customers' communications objectives.
Once the Core-7
objectives have been identified, the communication
designers then draft a list of objectives. They write
each objective in a statement form that includes the
criteria for measurement of that objective with an
eye towards the type of measurement or assessment
that will be carried out after the communications
have been implemented.
Unfortunately, most communications
do not have objectives that are properly designed
for measurement or assessment. They are developed
from a set of very general objectives which, when
measured, produce findings at such a global level
that they are relatively useless and often self-serving
and raising more questions than they answer.
In research and measurement,
specific, precise questions that drill down into individual
topics produce higher quality findings and more useful
results. This is the kind of information that
provides communicators with the insights and understandings
needed to develop very specific communications and
responses and ultimately, to produce powerful measurable
Most often, this creative process
produces three deliverables. The first is a set of
measurable objectives. The second is a content outline.
The third is a creative 'walkthrough' or treatment
that describes the creative ideas and how they will
work. Creative treatments often incorporate a variety
of media (written materials, sketches and storyboards,
graphics, music, models, etc.) to show not just how
the creative concepts will work, but to capture the
sense of them as well. They capture how they will
look, feel, sound, etc.; in effect, what the communications
will be like.