Bill Nelson


Director of Account Services

Advertising, All News, Strategy & Research

This is it. The third and final blog in Swim Creative’s strategic planning series. I assume you curled up with the first two blogs and memorized every word, but in case you need a refresher, the first post was about keeping the plan simple and the second post was about putting it into action. Here, I want to talk a little about measuring.

There are two quotes I want to contrast when it comes to thinking about measuring. One is by Peter Drucker who says, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”

The other is by Mitch Albom who says, “When you are measuring life, you are not living it.” To me, one is a management-minded reminder to analyze and apply knowledge to improve. The other encourages us to live in the metric-free moment.

Mind and heart. Kind of where marketing lives, don’t you think?

Before your campaign launches, you will need to have objectives and goals identified. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. It’s ok to keep them simple. Just make sure that they are business goals.

Sometimes we geek out about marketing performance goals like impressions, opens and click-through rates (CTRs). Those are important, but we have to remember that we are participants in the solving of business problems.

These goals are related to things like volume, revenue, or market share— also known as key performance indicators (KPIs). This is the marketing mind at work: looking at quantifiable results that guide our decisions and actions going forward.

However, these quantifiable results are the product of consumer behavior. In other words, part of the credit for results needs to be attributed to the emotional connection between a brand and a person.

Why? Because emotional connections turn into a purchases, relationships, loyalty, and ambassadorship. This is the marketing heart at work. This requires the ability to speak in human truths in order to relate to people on an emotional, personal level. This, too, can be measured by utilizing things like surveys and focus groups to help us understand the brand-person relationship.

And then there is the gut factor that simply takes honest and authentic cues from observing and relating to people living life.  

So try to measure your campaign both ways: key performance metrics and brand perception/preference metrics. At Swim, we create work that makes people think, feel, and do. It seems that measurement falls into that category as well: put your mind and heart to work measuring and then use that data to do something relevant with it.

Thanks for reading this series on strategic planning!

We hope this series was helpful. If you have more questions about strategic marketing planning, creative execution, measurement or all of the above, send me a message.

More on analytics, recorded at the Google HQ Hangout Studio:

Bill Nelson


Director of Account Services

All News, Strategy & Research

At this point, your marketing plan is written. It’s approved. The word, “Masterpiece,” may even come to mind. But now what?

We’ve all heard the saying, “Plan your work and work your plan.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen good people pour their heart and soul into a great plan only to have it sit on a shelf gathering dust.

Mark Twain said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”

So let’s start there. Each one of these tasks could be broken up into subtasks but I only have so many words I can use.

Task One:

Review the plan. Yup, read it. Remind yourself why you created it. Understand what it is trying to accomplish. Know your deadlines, budget, tactics, objectives, goals and what you are measuring.

Task Two:

Assemble the team. Gather the troops. Blow the horn! Define roles and responsibilities. This is so important. It holds people accountable and manages expectations. Media and production planning will need to be initiated. It might be helpful to summarize the plan into a project brief (a one-pager with a bulleted list of the important stuff). Share the scope of the plan. Identify vendors.

Task Three:

Management. Have a process. It does not have to be fancy. But you need a way to move projects through from beginning to end. And someone needs to own it. There needs to be a flow of content, communication, purchasing, meeting, scheduling, proofing, approvals and trafficking.

Task Four:

Create. This is the fun part. The writing, designing and producing. All of this is done with objective, target and strategy in mind. Always. Whether you are doing it internally or hiring it out. Most of you have heard of a creative brief. Well, use it. Keep an eye on budget and schedule. Traffic it out to be consumed whether it’s broadcast, digital, outdoor, collateral, direct mail or whatever. Everything launches and it should be coordinated with PR, internal organizational awareness and so on.

Task Five:

Crack open a beer and watch it all play out. Once the plan has been in place for awhile, you will need to measure its success. Remember not to stop at clicks. Find out how many of those clicks converted or became leads through online sales, email sign-ups and more. That’s how we evaluate the effectiveness of the campaign based on established goals.

That’s it. Have another beer. You’ve earned it.