What is it and how is it derived?
Three months ago, we all came into work thinking we had a pretty good grip on what we’d be working on for the next several months. New marketing campaigns, product launches, and customer events dotted the upcoming calendar, and resources and budgets were in place to get the work done. Then the world changed. Suddenly every decision was fraught with uncertainty and we all started struggling to adjust to an unpredictable economy and a shifting set of priorities.
Here at RoboHead, we started wondering how our customers were adjusting to this change. Obviously some industries were immediately impacted, but would companies not as directly impacted by the virus push forward with new marketing initiatives? We talked to customers who were adjusting to the new reality and wondering if their department’s experiences were in line with other companies. We, in turn, started looking at the activities of our customers and trying to see if we could determine how the activity level within marketing and creative departments had changed. As we looked at this data, it became clear that RoboHead could provide some useful insights to not just our current customers but to the entire marketing & creative community.
So what is the RoboHead 10000? Our initial goal was to answer a simple question – how much “work” do marketing & creative departments have at any given time? To answer this question, we looked at a variety of metrics: the number of requests getting submitted, the number of projects started, tasks created & completed, reviews approved, etc. After experimenting with various combinations of these activities, including weighted amalgams of these and many others, we came to the conclusion that simply by looking at a single metric, project starts, we were able to see any meaningful trends exposed by all the other metrics. While the scope of an individual project can vary widely both within and across companies, the trends revealed by tracking project volume alone were consistent with those derived from activities with a more discreet scope such as tasks, reviews, and timeslips.
To ensure the index remains consistent over time, we are not simply tracking the number of projects getting created in RoboHead. As RoboHead adds new customers, our raw project volume is, of course, growing year over year. To ensure the index remains consistent, we are expressing the index as an average of two ratios: projects created per RoboHead user active in the system during that period and projects created per RoboHead account (companies/business units) active in the system during this period. Doing so provides a consistent value both as new companies start using RoboHead and as existing customers add new teams in RoboHead. Finally, to provide a simple “anchor” to the data, we factor the raw measure by a constant such that the first working day, week, month and quarter of 2020 have a value of 100; other periods (both before and after) are expressed as a relative value to this initial period. For those of you who are mathematically inclined, here is the formula being used (for anyone else I apologize for any high school algebra PTSD this may induce):
p = number of projects created during period
u = number of users is RoboHead during period
a = number of accounts in RoboHead during period
c = 100 / (num projects created during first period 2020 / num users in RH
during first period 2020)
k = 100 / (num projects created during first period 2020 / num accounts in
RH during first period 2020)
In the future, we intend to add additional insights utilizing not just activities from RoboHead’s project management system, but also data derived from Aquent’s extensive marketing & creative staffing and services business. We look forward to hearing your feedback on the index and would like to hear your ideas on other insights that would be useful to you. Hopefully, we can help you see beyond what’s going on in your own department and get a birds-eye view (I promised to get back to that name) on major trends in marketing & creative.