Dani Hughes on the right metrics for the right time

Dani Hughes on the right metrics for the right time
Dani Hughes, head of digital engagement at Great Ormond Street Hospital Childrens Charity, shares with us her take on what metrics to utilise and when.

Why did you choose to pursue a role in communications? For example, has it always been your passion or was it pure happenstance?

When I was younger, I always wanted to work in Marketing, not entirely sure why. I actually started in a traditional marketing role, before digital marketing exploded, but I didn't enjoy it and I was often getting told off... I really lacked confidence and often made mistakes. It really took me awhile to find an area that I loved and when I accidentally took on a digital first role, I had finally found a part of marketing I was good at and actually ended up really enjoying.

What personal skills or attributes do you think are most important in the communications sphere? Why these skills/attributes in particular?

Empathy. For the people you work with and, for the audiences you are creating campaigns/projects/products for. You could be the most creative person, exceptionally strategic or visionary, but if you can't communicate with others then it all falls down. Being able to understand each other, to foster relationships, is critical.  

What sort of challenges do you face in your role? Is there a particular challenge that you experienced in the past that stood out?

One in particular, which no one seems to have cracked and if you have, then I'd love to buy you lunch and chat about it more. I have never heard anyone say "I have just the right level of work". We are all too busy, overstretched and stressed out. So, my challenge as a Head of a team is to make sure prioritisation and planning happen at the right time, in the best and most efficient way possible. I also need to make sure my team are looking after themselves, setting boundaries and then letting me know what I can do to support them, when it does all get a bit too much.  

What one thing would make your working life easier?

If I put less pressure on myself to be perfect.

How is the role of communications perceived in your organisation?

Think we're in a really good place, our internal teams know and understand the importance of our brand and how marketing and communications can help them achieve their ambitious goals.

What do you think the secret of success is when working in communications?

Similar to my earlier point, but for me it's collaboration, so no one feels like they were brought in too late, or their experience and input isn't valid. Then making sure everything is rooted in insight and having a really clear brief.  

At React & Share, we’re obsessed with helping our clients measure and report their efforts - what measurements do you think comms teams should be presenting to internal stakeholders?

Ignore the fluffy stuff and get into the details. Engagement rate etc... doesn't really mean anything. Have the right metrics in place for every stage of a customer journey, not everything has to be measured on a CPA. The other issue is we often use averages, Mark Ritson spoke about how averages are often not giving us the full picture. You might have created an inspiring campaign with a fantastic landing page - some people aren't clicking at all and others are going crazy. The overall average would give you a good picture. So, what happens to the people who aren't clicking but we want them to? Do we just leave them behind now and not work on trying to fix their why? Something to think about.  

Looking into your crystal ball, what do you think will be the next big thing in communications?

This isn't ground-breaking, but I imagine connected devices will shift to the next level, you see this a lot with Apple tech already. It will be advanced personalisation through data collection from your phone, watch and laptop which will then feed into all aspects of your life from the gym to shopping. This means for communications we need to understand when and how people want this level of hyper knowledge about themselves used, when and where it is appropriate to leverage this will be an interesting time.