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Communicating a Measurement Launch

June 30, 2017

For new reporting to be adopted and improve decisions, measurement teams must plan and execute launch communications.

B-to-b organizations invest heavily in creating measurement and reporting, but they don’t place the same emphasis on ensuring that reports are well used by their intended audiences. In this issue of SiriusPerspectives, we describe the necessary steps for communicating measurement launches and describe how to manage this process.

Gathering Key Facts

The SiriusDecisions Aligned Measurement Process Model details a best-in-class approach for developing reporting that is designed around the needs of users and aligned with the priorities of the organization. Upon reaching the launch stage of the process, communications must be issued to users and stakeholders about the introduction of new reporting. To create the content for these communications, assemble the following facts about the reporting, most of which will have been developed earlier in the process and documented in a reporting requirements template. In cases where facts were not formalized earlier, they can still be gathered to support the launch.

  • Purpose. The reason the reporting deliverable was created and the business needs it addresses.
  • Audiences. The user roles the report is intended to serve, plus a detailed list of the individuals who receive it or have access to it. These are the people whom launch communications must reach.
  • Access. The steps required to run or use the reporting deliverables. Details may include the relevant business system and the process for retrieving the deliverable. Alternatively, specify how a report will be delivered (e.g. emailed to the recipients or self-service retrieval).
  • Driver. A driver is the event, review or trigger that necessitates the report being created. An event might be a quarterly business review meeting, a review could be weekly monitoring of lead performance, and a trigger may refer to a situation that necessitates automated running of the report (i.e. a situation where SLA non-compliance crosses a pre-defined threshold).
  • Frequency. When new reporting is not generated on demand, frequency describes how often the reporting deliverable is produced.
  • Use cases. The most overlooked element of reporting communications, use cases describe how the content of the reports should be used. Use case information provides situational guidance on the types of decisions that can be supported by reporting. For reporting deliverables with multiple audiences, different audiences have different use cases for the same reporting.
  • Support. Users need to know where to turn if they have a concern about the content or the use of the reporting deliverable. This could be a report owner or an analyst, reachable directly or via a support link or email box. Support may sit within global marketing operations, or it may be provided locally through regional marketing operations functions.
  • Feedback. When establishing new reports, provide a mechanism for users to offer feedback. Distinct from issues requiring support, feedback identifies gaps, shortcomings, persistent needs and general impressions of the reporting. Specify if feedback should be directed at one individual, an email box or a Web form. Also specify whether it will be requested of users at regular intervals.

Communications Plan Components

The next step is to develop a launch communications plan to establish awareness of reporting availability and ensure that reporting gets used by the intended audience in the proper ways and for the right purposes. Launch plans need not be overengineered and can take the form of a checklist that includes the following components:

  • Actions. The list of what will be done (e.g. announcements sent, trainings held, other communications issued).
  • Audiences. The groups of people who are covered by each action. For example, an in-person lunch-and-learn might cover field marketers in a global headquarters, but other types of communications would be necessary for in-region marketers who are not concentrated geographically and cannot attend an in-person event.
  • Due dates. Due dates Responsible parties. The individuals who are responsible for orchestrating and executing each action.
  • Completion status. An indicator of whether each action has been completed.

Building the Communications Plan

The magnitude of a measurement launch dictates the volume and intensity of the actions necessary for the launch. Reporting meant to affect a large number of users distributed across geographies and business units requires higher levels of launch activity, as does reporting that introduces fundamentally new workflows or changes how marketing’s impact will be evaluated. Lower-profile launches are suitable for reporting intended for more limited, easier-to-reach audiences and for reporting that represents smaller changes in how marketers operate.

Launch communications must ensure the successful delivery of information and messages that align with the use cases of each audience. Communications must address each of the key facts listed above. To validate that each audience is covered, cross-check the lists of actions and audiences. Communications can be delivered using multiple vehicles such as intranet portals, newsletters and lunch-and-learn sessions. Consider the following actions to support a measurement launch:

  • Announcements. These are the first formal notifications that alert recipients to the release of new reporting tools. These overview-level communications are frequently issued via email and on Web portals. Announcements frequently refer to forthcoming communications that will provide more detail and require more time commitment from the user/participant.
  • Fact sheets. These provide detailed instructions for accessing and using a reporting deliverable. Fact sheets serve as reference guides and can provide step-by-step instructions for gaining access to, working with, interpreting and making decisions based on a reporting deliverable.
  • Training. Live or recorded training sessions provide in-depth instruction to users of new reporting. Long-form training may be delivered in person or remotely via webinar; this choice often depends on geographic concentrations of users. Live trainings may be repeated in multiple locations or time zones. Shorter-form recorded training may be effective for supporting less frequent reporting users or highlighting individual use cases in short bursts. In all forms, training works best for demonstrating how reporting may be used within a workflow. Live training has the advantage of allowing question-and-answer sessions.
  • One-to-one meetings. When reporting is aimed at small quantities of senior-level decisionmakers, group trainings aren’t the best option. It may be more effective to schedule one-to-one sessions with senior-level reporting users at reporting launch. When measurement is properly developed, these business leaders will have been consulted at earlier stages of the Aligned Measurement Process. One-to-one meetings are geared toward reinforcing the value and use cases of the ultimate product.
  • FAQ. Through the user testing and piloting that precedes launch, it may become apparent that some questions are asked repeatedly. In addition to proactively addressing these questions in launch communications, create a frequently-asked-questions page to support users as they interact with reporting.

The Sirius Decision

Rare is the b-to-b marketing organization that doesn’t strive to become more data-driven. After all, the best decisions are those based on relevant data. Too often, however, an organization’s failure to become data-driven is blamed on a lack of sufficient data. Our research shows that even where adequate reporting exists, it is not always used, understood and incorporated into marketing workflows. Correcting these shortcomings requires effectively communicating the launch of new measurement.