PKIDS Communications Made Easy- Social Marketing: Measuring What Matters

Social marketing initiatives in public health and other issues often struggle to measure meaningful results, defaulting to process rather than outcome/impact.

A more thorough, outcomes-based evaluation is needed to satisfy funders, prove program relevance and replicability, and achieve social change goals. Establishing clear expectations up front is vital to developing a successful intervention.

Measuring What Matters is a user-friendly evaluation methodology that distinguishes between action measures that quantify inputs (“what we put in”) and outputs (“what we create”) and result measures that quantify outcomes (“what results”) and impact (“what difference it makes”). It measures inputs such as formative research, audience segmentation and campaign design; implementation outputs; outcomes such as change in policy, systems and behavior; and impacts to health, cost and social norms. It is a valuable tool for both evaluation and up-front goal and objective articulation.

Jennifer Messenger Heilbronner is a senior vice president at Metropolitan Group, a social change communication firm. She works with nonprofits, public sector organizations and socially responsible businesses to motivate behavior change and shift policy and social norms.

Jennifer currently leads MG’s work with the Oregon Health Authority’s Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention Program, creating social marketing initiatives for tobacco prevention, colorectal cancer screening, healthy worksites and other projects. She is also working on a resource development program for the American Public Health Association, an Oregon Academy of Family Physicians’ initiative to increase the numbers of primary care providers in rural areas, and a safe workplace campaign for SAIF.

In her previous position at Prospect Associates, she helped create a CDC campaign to encourage people with diabetes to get a flu shot. Jennifer volunteers with the Oregon Environmental Council, the American Heart Association, and Girls Inc.

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