Big Opportunity: 3 Tips for Getting a Better Read on Data

David Rockland, Ketchum

It’s not a stretch to say that PR practitioners don’t exactly love math. Bad news.

Data, analytics, statistics and math are increasingly becoming a necessity in the PR field, says David Rockland, partner and managing director of Ketchum’s global research and analytics unit.

“With the amount of data available to us about markets, audiences, individual customers and competitors, we can use analytics to be much more precise in how we build programs and more predictive about how they will work,” says Rockland.

Following are a few of the strategic priorities related to big data: 

  1. Establish key questions you want to answer: These could include: What are the messages? What channel should be used? What geographies are being targeted? By understanding these areas, we can use data to create better programs, better understand our audience and know which channels will effectively deliver our messages.

  2. Research should be analyzed holistically: Many companies house an enormous amount of data from brand tracking surveys, customer surveys and other syndicated sources. By layering data from a variety of sources and combining the analysis with social listening, we can begin to micro-target at the individual level.

  3. Combine qualitative and quantitative research techniques: The right brain helps the individual in the art of asking the right questions, while the left-brain function brings the quantitative aspect of working through the numbers. Navigating the world of big data is both an art and a science that ultimately help us arrive at strategic insights.

Follow Scott Van Camp: @svancamp01

PR News subscribers can read more about managing big data in "Rise of Data and Online Analytics Offers PR Executives a New Pitch."

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About Scott Van Camp

Scott Van Camp is editor of PR News, an executive-level, reader-supported publication that helps enhance the business impact of PR. Scott has a rich background in both journalism and PR/marketing. He has more than 15 years of experience as a writer/editor at various consumer and trade publications. Scott was with VNU Business Publications for five years, including stints as managing editor at IQ News and Technology Marketing magazines and senior editor at Brandweek. In the PR/marketing sphere, he has served as corporate communications manager at MarketBridge, a marketing and sales consultancy, and as editorial director for the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council. While at the Council, Scott led several high-profile marketing research projects. He has also operated his own communications and media consulting firm, SVC Communications.

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