Matthew Dickinson

Measurement in Med Comms: Striving for Creative Effectiveness

Insights category icon Insights
Measurement category icon Measurement

by Matthew | 06 Jan Read Time2 min

Matthew Dickinson, Managing Director of Dice, is an Economics graduate of Melbourne University, and entered the world of consumer advertising in Australia - working for global agencies DDB and Ogilvy. His experience drives Dice to deliver the best possible work for clients.


A real passion of mine is creative effectiveness – does the work we produce work? At Dice it’s one of our 4 core pillars in creating what we call Pharmacohesion – measurement. 

Too often in this industry a job is delivered, sent live, and the next opportunity to look at its impact is in 12 months’ time (or longer). As an industry we don’t measure our work enough.

It’s no doubt a factor of every project’s journey through the rigorous approval process, a sense of relief comes across everyone at completion and the next project needs to get started right away.

This is a trap we all fall in to. We should all be doing our utmost to avoid it.

Every sales aid and every major project should be iterative; constantly requiring tweaking and improvement over an extended period. I’m not suggesting that we do a new update every month, but wouldn’t it make sense to invest more time and effort in making our existing work more powerful, uncovering new insights and building future strategy and executions from a position of knowledge of what works and what hasn’t quite achieved our goal?

Perhaps this is an industry sensitivity, a lack of willingness to attach metrics to individual projects, rather than the brand’s performance in general. But if I could ask for one hope in the next decade, it’s that more accountability is put on the work and the projects we do. It will strengthen client-agency relationships, and will benefit the brands (and companies) that we love working on.

The trend to digital communications has always allowed for more analysis, which is welcomed, but we should also use this opportunity to be more rigorous in our attitude towards measuring success. 

The PM Society Awards has always been the UK’s pre-eminent pharma industry awards, and yet not one category includes any judging criteria around effectiveness. Only the PM Digital Awards carry any effectiveness criteria. This misses the point, as we should celebrate the fact that great craft, great creative, great ideas ALL make a positive difference in the success of the brands we work on. 

We must continue to focus on growing brands and not being caught thinking in the short term about the next project we must deliver. Don’t just take my word for it – The IPA have covered this extensively, but their most recent follow-up report is troubling and speaks to my views above.
I’m making it my personal mission to ensure more analysis is undertaken on more projects. I would be very happy to discuss this with anyone interested in how we can make this happen.

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