Communicators' first questions about measurement dashboards are often about tools. "What should I buy?" and "what's the one measurement tool I should absolutely, definitely use?" tend to top the list.
For PR News Measurement Hall of Famer Katie Paine, the first questions relating to dashboards should be: "What is my goal?" "What outcomes is my communications strategy or tactic going to achieve?" and "What are my measurable objectives?"
"'Where do I start?' is a question I get frequently, and my response always is, 'Don’t ask me, ask your stakeholders,'" says Paine, publisher and CEO of Paine Publishing and a presenter at PR News' April 21, 2016, Measurement Conference in Washington, D.C. "You may need to do some research before you jump in. That’s what listening really is, isn’t it?"
Once you've done the research to find out what business impact you can have on stakeholders—this includes management—with your communications efforts then you can shift your focus to which dashboard tools to use. When you get to that point, follow Katie Paine's list of 10 measurement dashboard do's and don'ts.
Measurement Dashboard Do's
- Get consensus on definitions of success
- Measure what matters—how you contribute to the business
- Make your metrics tell a story
- Make sure your data is valid and accurate
- Test any indexes or algorithms with real data before presenting them
Measurement Dashboard Don'ts
- Don’t use metrics that you don’t have buy-in for
- Don’t measure what’s easy
- Don’t clutter up your dashboard
- Don’t put numbers on it you can’t explain
- Don’t use charts that people can’t read or understand
"The final step in the measurement process is to analyze your data and draw conclusions," says Paine. And for those of you who didn't major in math, Paine has a simple recommendation—find the people in your organization who love statistics and draft them to your cause.
Learn more about PR measurement from Katie Paine at PR News' Measurement Conference, which will be held April 21 at Washington, D.C.'s National Press Club.
Follow Katie Paine: @queenofmetrics
Follow Steve Goldstein: @SGoldsteinAI