PR pros must now have left brain (mathematics and analysis) as well as right brain (creativity and imagination) attributes to prove the business value of their roles. In other words, PR measurement is just as important as verbal, written and visual communications skills.
PR News and Nasdaq Media Intelligence conducted a joint study this July, surveying more than 370 communications professionals to benchmark the state of PR measurement and get a clearer picture of their grasp of analytics tools and insights. In a key question, respondents were asked how they rate their expertise in selecting the right communications data to analyze and their ability to apply that data to improving communications strategies.
The response was not entirely encouraging: 55 percent of PR pros rated their expertise in pulling and analyzing the right data as fair or poor, while 45 percent rated their expertise as good or excellent.
It may be that some of the 55 percent who don't rate their data expertise highly are whizzes at using Google Analytics and a half-dozen paid tools but view that expertise through the prism of anxiety related to being held accountable for the literal business value of public relations programs.
"It starts with being more strategic about PR measurement," said Mike Piispanen, vice president, global head of Media Intelligence at Nasdaq. "The survey results show that many communications teams lack clarity in what’s important to leadership—or their client."
"The C-suite wants to see the business correlation of all PR activities now," added Katie Creaser, vice president of New York-based PR agency Affect. "This is challenging for agencies and in-house pros. Knowing how to use analytics tools is part of the the answer."
The full results of the PR News/Nasdaq Media Intelligence "The State of PR Measurement: Industry Benchmarking Survey" will be published in PR News' Aug. 3 premium newsletter.
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