This blog post is the last in a series of six that dives deep into the proven methodology developed and used by TACK10 throughout the client process. Each week, TACK10 Group President and CEO James Chalmers takes you through one of the five pillars of our methodology, detailing how it was developed and how it can be deployed. This series will inform you of how best to reach your objectives and hopefully inspire you to think critically about “what keeps you up at night?” Just tuning in now? Read Part 1 of 6 here.
As we move into the final edition of this series on the TACK10 methodology and we dive deep into Measurement, it is important to remember that this is the culmination of the previous 5 pillars. Often, I refer to this as being the most important pillar. It gets that moniker because measurement is the only tool you have to quantifiably know how you performed. How did you do against your predetermined objectives? Well… We are about to find out!
It starts with reviewing your objectives and the KPIs that were set for each. Your KPIs may be commonly based on a scale, in which case they fall into 1 of 4 categories:
Another way you can consider these scales is by treating them as variables. These scales are extremely important measurement tools, but at TACK10 our favourite form of measurement is Absolute; this will be explained as the final type of measurement.
These are the easiest to understand as nominal measurements are really just like labels. When you think nominal, think names or labels. For example, if we look at live events, nominal measurements could be things such as gender, residency or defined lists of pre-populated answers (choose a, b, c or d). Nominal measurements are a great way to place things into categories.
These measurements are also quite easy to understand. Ordinal comes down to putting things in order. They are generally scales of preference or significance. Think simple questionnaires for this one. On a scale of 1 to 5 how likely are you to recommend this product or service? How satisfied are you with this product or service: not satisfied, satisfied or very satisfied? Again, this information can be very important. What I tend not to like about this form of measurement however, is that it does not give us the “why.”
These scales are about knowing the order, such as with ordinal scales, but with interval scales you have the added benefit of knowing the difference between the values – and the difference always remains the same. Simply put, interval means the “space between.” Like ordinal, they give us the order and also introduce the element of increasing value. In an interval scale, the increments are known, consistent and measurable. For a live event this could be a measure of attendance as an example. With interval measurements we also have the added benefit of being able to dissect measurements into elements such as median scores or standard deviations.
Ratios are really the holy grail of measurement scales because they tell us the order, the intervals are known and the data can be used in the most number of ways. Ratios can be added, subtracted, divided or multiplied. We love ratios at TACK10 because we can get into comparative situations in which absolute size matters less. It gives us the opportunity to compare programs of different sizes on a level field of measurement. If we stick with examples in the live event space, this could for instance give us the ability to compare two events with very different attendance numbers, using a standard measure.
While my preference is always for setting objectives that have hard, quantifiable measurements, qualitative measurements can deliver great value in understanding the human experience and how we experience a program. Qualitative is all about “Quality” and does not take into account measurable quantities. They are great for measuring the human experience and should be used as a part of an overall measurement program, but not as an exclusive measurement tool. Great qualitative measurement tends to come in the form of open-ended questions such as “How was your experience?”
This is hands down my favourite form of measurement. Quantitative measures are absolute numbers; consider event attendance, overall spend, units sold. In my opinion these are the measures that matter most. If measured and compared over time, they give us leading indicators into qualitative measures when compared over time as well. With our live event example we could for instance be measuring attendance over several events or years and deduct that we are positively growing quality, if without any notable changes in the programming or delivery, attendance continues to grow. This is not an absolute tie in, but it can be a leading indicator. Absolute quantities cannot be argued. They are what they are and for that reason I love them. If we set a target we either achieve or surpass it or we do not. Point blank.
The Closing Bell
No program or organization is perfect. How well we are doing however, can only be determined by measuring performance. The best measurement programs take into account scales, qualitative and quantitative measures. Doing so lets us compare against others, understand the human experience as it relates to our organizations and appreciate where we sit in terms of the hard goals we set for ourselves. While I am firm in my belief that each of the 5 pillars is equally important, I put the most emphasis on measurement because organizations tend to be planning better than ever but still missing the mark in terms of measuring performance with the right mix of tools or measures.