In the quest for optimal return on PR efforts, it's best to distinguish between ROI and value, said Tim Marklein, executive VP, measurement and strategy, Weber Shandwick, at the PR News Measurement Conference, held March 23 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. "ROI has to be proved in quantifiable terms, using survey research, Web and search analytics," added Marklein.
The ability to prove PR's worth was the order of the day, as more than 200 conference-goers heard from experts covering measurement strategies and best practices in media relations, social media, internal communications, public affairs and more.
Keynote speaker Jennifer Scott, managing director of research & insights at Ogilvy PR, spoke about influencer mapping, a technique used to identify and engage third parties who influence the reputation of organizations. Scott stressed the importance of finding influencers who gravitate toward your products or issues. "Even influencers with low opinions of your organization can be reached," said Scott. "It might be sending an e-mail to a blogger, or, for a person of high influence, offering lunch with the CEO."
What measurements work best in proving value to the C-suite? Craig Mitchell, VP of analyst services at Cision, said it could be as basic as a customer purchase audit, and as complex (and expensive) as marketing mix models that provide instant ROI figures.