I was reading an interesting article in a blog that has been in my mind and have been discussing this for sometime - does measurement kill creativity? The article has some interesting points:
Many times I have been in a meeting with angry marketers, designers, or agency account managers because I was demonstrating that their ideas didn’t work. Didn’t work for the business that is. Meeting quantitative goals online, when you take the pain to define them, is something very hard to do; amazingly, people tend not to behave the way we would like them to!
To me, people who think measurement kills creativity simply have problems handling accountability. Businesses constantly face problems, and finding solutions to those problems is when creativity is at its most useful. Creativity performs best under pressure, and it’s measurement’s role to apply it.
I could not agree more with some of the points made here not just for online marketing but for any multi-channel marketing program. I think there needs to be a right balance between measurement and creativity across all media vehicles - TV, internet, direct mail, email, mobile, social media etc. Just blind measurement focus, tends to reduce the "need to experiment mindset" as everybody who is involved with the marketing programs then is worried about results and never try to innovate due to fear of failure. While on the other hand just being creative tends to be a silo and self-fulfilling proposition where there is very little 'acceptance of accountability'. Hence, there is a defensive approach to results and there always tends to be a blame game on how results were not truly measured, the metrics used was wrong etc.
I used to, in my earlier job, talk of concept of the need for "IMAGINACTION" in marketing programs - where imagination without action and action without imagination, has no place in marketing programs. The account managers and marketers need to do both if customers need to be involved and engaged with their programs.