Six months ago, I got the urge to try something new at the gym and enrolled in a twice-weekly strength training class. Part of me did it for the obvious benefit of getting totally ripped. The other part of me did it because the class met at 6 A.M. and I thought it would help me become a “morning gym person.”

But I didn’t really know what to expect. I’ve been avidly training and conditioning for the better part of ten years, but I’d never walked up to a weight rack before. So, when I met Terri the Athletic Trainer on the Tuesday of my first class, she immediately established expectations:

  • Get to class. On time.
  • You have to “Think Strong!” if you’re going to progress.
  • Keep track of your data in a journal.
  • Commit to a schedule for training at least three times per week.

From the first Romanian deadlift, I loved it. After years working in marketing analytics, tracking my activity was already second nature. My workout journal was just an analog version of Excel. I’d learned to calculate my one-rep max (1RM, for those of you who abbreviate your KPIs), test and optimize weight increases, and create workout plans based on muscle groups.

But not everything worked out perfectly. “Thinking strong” couldn’t lift a 100-pound barbell of my chest. My dog made me late one morning when she extended her morning walk into an off-road adventure. And, if I’m ever going to be a 6 A.M. gym person, I might need an “accountabili-buddy” (or at least a hologram with wicked A.I.).

Looking for support, Terri the Athletic Trainer said something that stuck with me. In the throes of predawn gym hours, she said it wasn’t enough to just go through the motions of the workout. If you’re ever to make progress in your strength program, you’ve got to think about what you’re doing. It wasn’t enough to merely show up and let your body go on autopilot.

It reminded me of a sentence in our recently published note, “How to Measure a Multichannel Marketing Campaign” (subscription required):

The most valuable lessons are received when our expectations are surprised, either in success or disappointment.

In that way, my strength training class reminded me a lot of marketing measurement. Too often, we set goals as a way to check an arbitrary item off a list. We let our measurement programs go on autopilot. Success in measurement depends on whether we devote time to scrutinizing the data, examining how our results confirm our hypotheses – or upset them in ways we didn’t anticipate.

So, when thinking of how you’ll measure multichannel marketing this year, consider that lesson from my strength training class. Be present – establish the expectations you’ll have of your multichannel marketing. It’ll give you context for analysis, whether that’s to confirm – or negate – your initial hypothesis.

And if you need an accountabili-buddy, let me know. I’m glad to help you measure marketing, so long as it’s not at 6 A.M.

Read more in “How to Measure a Multichannel Marketing Campaign.”

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