Topic: Book Club

How Do You Measure Stickiness?

Posted by Matt Dickman on 500 Points
As I read through the book, I began to go through the mental exercise of creating sticky messages. While I agree with the philosophy, it also requires a large time investment from marketers. Here are a couple of scenarios:

1. You already have a message out there and it doesn't stick. Something is missing. If you re-create the message, what could you measure to see if this new version is successful?

2. You are challenged with creating a new message from scratch. What would you tell your boss that you will measure to see if it sticks? How do you determine the level of stickiness?

What new, sticky metrics should be created to measure this?

Moderator Note: This discussion refers to the book Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath (topic: communications). Click the title to learn more. Then join the conversation. We'd LOVE for you to participate!

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  • Posted by matteo la rosa on Member
    Hi Matt,
    You know, I think it would be possible to measure stickiness following the "Made to Stick" reccomendations. In fact, it just could be an Excel where you insert, category by category (i.e. Simplicity, Unexpetness etc.) a value you can give to it.

    What's more, each Category could be also divided into its subcategories like for unexpectness (pattern-breaking and mystery).

    The only thing is that, anyway, these will be your personal point of view. remember the Curse of Knowledge: how can you be sure to have given the right votes to each aspect?

    Otherwise you could ask different people to compile the Excel and have some means about the stickiness of your project.

    It would be interesting to do something like this, we could discuss about how to weight each single voice to have a good final results... ;)

  • Posted on Accepted
    I would think one could measure stickiness through a few ways like:

    1) PR Exposures/mentions/placements
    2) Sales increases (e.g. subway sandwiches sold during the Jared campaigns)
    3) Online Buzz mentions (measuring citations and conversations around your product/service after the campaign or message was launched).
    4) And another (funny) item to look at, especially in user-generated content times, is parodies. Take a look at just one of the "Subway Jared" parodies over at YouTube:

    Point is, in this day and age, parodies are good (not bad)...they show you're message is sticking.
  • Posted on Member
    Both aforementioned methods are great. Matteo is looking at the formulation stage and CK at the performance stage.
    Measuring success is always tricky because the attribution bug hits everyone differently. Great copy may be the arrow, but the delivery lies with the archer.

    For the formulation/review stage, I would solicit feedback from 2 groups of people:
    1) Other writers
    2) secretaries, aides and other gatekeepers
  • Posted by Mark Goren on Accepted
    If your message is already out there, you know what it's not doing. You should have a baseline of what it is you want to achieve that isn't happening.

    For example (off the top of my head): You're selling bikes for $100 for a period of one year.

    After the first three months, you know you've sold X units. And then you enter your new, sticky message into the market for the beginning of the second quarter. With your new message, you'll know what kind of effect it's having on sales.

    A rudimentary example to be sure, but the fact that you have a message out there that isn't working should help in determining how the new message is making a difference.

    Identify the action you want to achieve.
  • Posted on Member
    It's hard to quantify it directly, because messages rarely (if ever) occur in a vacuum. Thus, sales increases or decreases, even if closely correlated, do not necessarily indicate a causal relationship.

    You could go down the checklist, of course, and see how many apply to your message, but that is a subjective measure.

    One way to find a "yes or no" answer, though is to just see how many discussions are going on about your message, or your brand, both before and after the message is released.
  • Posted by Matt Dickman on Author
    These are some great responses.

    Matteo -- I like the collaborative effort. Is there a way to bring in the customer to that process?

    CK -- I especially like your points 3 and 4. It's leveraging the social media space to drive participation. There could ever be a new metric called the "parody ratio". Is part of creating a sticky idea that it is easily parodied? Should companies think about that when launching to make it easy for people to do? Take Mac vs. PC ads. Simple, white background, two people talking. That's easy to recreate in a basement.

    Mario -- Love the comment about the archer. How do you make sure people are all aiming at the right target though?

    Mark -- I think those are good points to review and a good starting point. Is something that is truly sticky going to show results immediately or is it more long term?

    I ask that of everybody...what can we measure now that will show us long-term loyalty? Is there a way to predict a change in something that you may not be able to measure for years to come?

    Cam -- Agreed about the vacuum part. Each piece is interdependent. Are there things that are more subjective? What about gains in loyalty or increased interest, things that are hard to measure, but are results of sticky ideas. How should we measure those?
  • Posted on Member
    As Comm. archery brigade commanders, we'd have to:

    1) Communicate the strategy to the archers
    2) Identify the intended targets and additional friendlies (no hostiles here :)
    3) Instill in your regiments the Commander's Intent
    4) Perform post-review analysis to assess the (good) damage.
  • Posted on Member
    Mario: I see a post on archery forthcoming. Loving the metaphor.

    Matt: I think with most "humorous" or "entertaining" ads or campaigns there can be parodies made. Not sure if co's can foresee them. But maybe they can (Wendy's "Where's the Beef?" is easily parodied as are the Mac and PC ads which have been parodied). I think the lesson is that when consumers are poking fun at you/your brand, they're interacting with and loving your brand. It's one thing to have consumers make fun of you or put you down...but parodies are not at all in that category. And parodies can have a short-term stick factor.
  • Posted on Member
    This sounds a lot like the conversation Mark and I had about being able to measure the impact of web sites and social media over time. How do you construct tags that leave a trace, just like Hansel und Gretel's breadcrumbs?

    You can observe behavior, for now. Does anyone here think it is possible to construct long term measurement tools that allow us to keep tabs on decisions/outcomes based on messages?
  • Posted on Accepted
    Matt - Those things you mentioned can be measured, but it's a bit tricky to tie it all together with a specific marketing campaign when you have so many things happening at once.

    I think we'll find ways to measure browsing behavior, and there are technologies being developed that will enable us to measure the effectiveness of messages in individuals, but I don't see the time when those measurement techniques will be affordable to the masses (even in terms of the masses of marketers) coming on the horizon for quite some time.

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