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How PR can use a common measurement language

18th June 2013

With lines starting to blur with paid, owned, and earned media, many PROs need to argue their case to get their share of the marketing budget. When it comes to demonstrating value to the organisation’s business performance, PROs have confessed to not having the right tools nor measurement acumen. What highlights PR’s measurement failings is the strong cases that advertising and media practitioners put forward to prove how their  disciplines contribute to the bottom line. At this year’s AMEC conference, clients professed that measurement – the metrics, methodologies, application of current tools, and how to articulate the value of measurement – is too complex and foreign to them. However, I believe there is nothing to fear. I agree there is a clear need for education, standardisation, and clarity to help us establish our own set of cases, norms, and best practices. The common thread that serves as the foundation for how each marketing discipline demonstrates its value is research. No one discipline owns the scientific standards that are needed to measure and evaluate. Research is the scientific framework that provides rigour to the process for how we create insights; from the strategy development, to the in-market optimisation, post-evaluation and back to strategy development for the next initiative. There is much that we can reapply from the best practices our marketing colleagues already use. We can use tools that currently exist, adapting where we need to for the unique capabilities that public relations brings to the marketing mix. As a former practitioner on the advertising, client side, media buying and planning I have come to recognise that there is a common language that all marketing disciplines can use when discussing the value that each brings to the organisation. Although the tools we use to evaluate these metrics may differ, in some instances, we can still join the marketing conversations by using a common marketing language to discuss how our communication efforts contributed value to the organisation. Below are some of the common metrics that marketers can use regardless of their advertising, media, or public relations function in the organisation.
Communications Objective Role in the Marketing Mix Metrics
  • · Awareness
· Impressions · Active fans · Followers · Unique site visitors · Brand awareness / familiarity · Message association
Engagement (online / offline)
  • · Connect with the brand
· Searches · Conversations · Sharing (post, tweet) · Download · Video Views · Time spent · Coupon redemption
Attitudes (Reputation, Perceptions, Consideration)
  • · Brand affinity · Reputation · Sales · Loyalty · Advocacy
· Opinion of Brand overall · Opinion of brand against specific attributes · Consideration · Recommendation
Although these metrics are common to all marketing colleagues, how we demonstrate value to the organisation will vary from how our advertising and media colleges discuss their value. By beginning to utilise the same language as our other marketing colleagues, we can begin to join the conversation that shows the CMO, CCO, and CEO the value that the communications discipline brings to the organisation. Written by Janelle Dixon, SVP of Director of Insight Creation and Measurement at MSLGROUP North America

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