Measuring What Matters – the key elements of measuring public relations & marketing
Measuring the effectiveness of a communications strategy requires the outcomes of each discipline to be quantified in terms of progress and ultimate impact. The success of a communications strategy relies on a specific data point and impact is a compound measurement of multiple metrics.
The ultimate aim of public relations is actionable relationships [aR] — relationships that are useful for marketing purposes. The functional outcome of public relations can be measured by the change in the strength of a specific relationship which, in turn, allows the its utility – and value – to be determined.
Marketing success is measured by compelling commercially-valuable actions [cvA]. The stronger a relationship – in the context of the action it will be asked to take – determines the probability that the action will be taken. Clearly, the value proposition needs to be strong enough to compel somebody to take the action, but regardless of the strength of the value proposition without an actionable relationship the chances of success are significantly reduced.
Awareness is a metric of publicity, but unless it is strategic it serves no clear purpose other than to generate awareness in an of itself. This is often referred to as vanity. Awareness relies on choosing the right channel for distributing it at scale and – naturally – the message needs to resonate with those being made aware of it.
Media — paid, earned, owned or shared — has to be quantifiable in terms of business impact — measured commercially-valuable media coverage. This cannot be done retroactively (a fundamental flaw in most attribution) and requires it to be done strategically (in the pursuit of a defined and measurable outcome) for it to be measured at all.
Other strategic communications activities like brand and the use of influence and influencers – as well as trust – can also be definitively measured using an integrated measurement ‘stack’. Measuring any of these after the fact presents a host of challenges that render most calculations useless.