No matter where you are in the arc of your PR career, measurement matters. In order to prove the value of your PR successes, you must deliver metrics that align with your organization’s top and bottom lines.
For proper perspective, we asked this year’s PR News Measurement Hall of Fame inductees to paint some broad strokes on the state of PR measurement. The 2013 Hall of Fame inductees will be honored during PR News’ PR Measurement Conference, which takes place May 15 at the National Press Club, in Washington, D.C.
PR News: What are some of the major trends in PR measurement right now?
Mark Weiner, CEO, PRIME Research: The biggest trend is what I call 'the second wave' of social media listening, engagement and analytics. The first wave was driven by indiscriminate, real-time content gathering, which led to cascades of irrelevant content and inaccurate data. Unfortunately, the first wave is marked by automation which is too literal in its thinking and unable to uncover context or to recognize human intentions.
The second wave marries the speed and consistency of automation with the understanding and insights only humans provide. The challenge of the second wave is exacerbated by the need for 'small data' to drive 'big data' (itself a major trend in business generally).
"Big data" seeks to correlate a variety of data streams to uncover opportunities for better business decision-making. In this case, PR or social media data may reveal opportunities for product development or customer service which may not have been identified in the past through traditional public relations measurement.
David Michaelson, Managing Director, Teneo Strategy: The primary trend in measurement today is the movement to create standard measures for public relations activities. This is a critical effort that will hopefully result in the ability to create comparative measures for all stages of the public relations process from outputs to outcomes to outtakes.
Donald K. Wright, Harold Burson Professor and Chair in Public Relations, Boston University's College of Communications: Probably the biggest trend is the movement to convince PR practitioners to measure. Research I’ve conducted each year since 2005 clearly shows there is not nearly enough measurement taking place in our field and, unfortunately, when practitioners do measure it often involves use of AVEs and/or mainly measures of communications outputs (instead of outcomes).
For measurement tips, tactics, war stories and advice, register nor for PR News' annual PR Measurement Conference at the National Press Club on May 15.