Although it may not seem like it, measurement is really more of an art than a science. Just as a painter doesn’t need to weigh the amount of paint on the canvas to create art, communicators should be more concerned with application than raw materials. It’s important to have the tools and materials needed to create the picture, but in the end, success is determined by how you use what’s at your disposal.
Not keeping clear business goals in mind from the beginning can lead to measuring too much or not enough, says Sandra Fathi, founder and president of Affect and speaker at PR News’ Nov. 18 Measurement Conference in Chicago. Fathi reminds PR pros that measurement doesn’t have to be intimidating—it can help improve skill levels and advocate to the C-suite for PR’s importance and ultimately secure crucial budget dollars.
With that in mind, here are four tips from Sandra Fathi to consider when thinking about measurement.
1. Be wary of vanity metrics. No CEO ever got on an earnings call and lauded the fact that the company gained 7,000 followers that quarter. You want to be very specific in how the metrics correspond with business goals. But don’t throw out these kinds of metrics completely. They are an indicator of something; you just have to make them work for your organization.
2. Don’t go easy on measurement. Don’t just measure what’s easy for you, or what a specific platform may promote. Do the work to figure out which stats are meaningful to the company and make sure you get them.
3. Don’t go overboard either. You have to find the balance between the time and cost of measuring and the knowledge you gain from it. If you have so much data that you can’t pull out enough actionable data to justify the time spent, then you’re probably measuring too much.
4. Reverse-engineer your campaigns. You have to put the trip wires in place at the beginning so that your work can be measured. You have to ensure from the outset that you're putting in those necessary technical specs, otherwise you’ll get to the end and realize that it’s too late to get real actionable insights.
Make sure you get the most out of your measurement efforts by attending the PR News Measurement Conference in Chicago on Nov. 18. Speakers will deliver case studies and tips from their work with companies such as AARP, Affect, General Mills, MasterCard, Medtronic and Porter Novelli.
Follow Sandra: @sandrafathi
Follow Mark: @MarkRenfree