How can PR and Marketing teams start speaking the same measurement language?
Digital Marketing Manager
With new technologies come new and more sophisticated ways of working. Data intelligence, advanced analytics and machine learning have made calculating and evaluating fundamental marketing and PR KPIs easier than ever. Yet one age-old complexity is yet to be solved: measuring the true value of PR. This ever-changing landscape doesn’t just include new technologies, but also innovations and evolutions in how things are done. With marketing teams and campaigns becoming increasingly integrated and, with that the necessary visual alignments of clear KPIs, our industry’s whole approach to PR is coming under the microscope. Stakeholders are Increasingly Seeking Measurement AMEC’s Global Business Insight Study 2019 found that three quarters of business leaders agreed that stakeholders are increasingly seeking clarity in measurement, which includes "other marketing activity as well as PR/Comms in order to provide an integrated perspective”. Plus, 70% are after “increasingly sophisticated types of evaluation to demonstrate the benefits of communications activity”. We too are seeing this trend at AxiCom. Our 2019 Client Survey found that almost half of our clients saw “communicating ROI back to the business” and “creating tangible measurement frameworks” as priorities for 2020. And in a world that cannot always offer certainty, we recognise that what we all need now is more clarity. Speaking a Different Language Speaking from my own experience, I arrived at AxiCom in late-2018 without much exposure to the world of PR. What was immediately obvious to me, though, was that I was speaking a different language from my colleagues when it came to measurement and reporting. In my world of digital marketing, measuring and optimising campaigns with metrics like clicks, engagements and cost per lead is second nature, and provides relatively clear and objective performance indicators. This made learning of PR measurements like Opportunity to See and Advertising Value Equivalent all the more intriguing. Evidently, ways of measuring PR outputs – beyond the simple coverage numbers and readership figures – do exist and it appears that there was rationale behind their creation. Yet, their lack of objective accuracy and uniform calculation makes them fundamentally flawed. The issue at hand is that PR measurements often make no sense to non-PR people. When you can display a clear and tangible return on investment through most advertising activities, the inability to do the same within PR can become problematic for senior business leaders who are not only chasing the dream of integrated campaigns, but also integrated measurement and reporting across disciplines. While you cannot – and, indeed, are not – comparing apples to apples, if these standalone measurements within PR are difficult for wider marketing teams to understand at face value, we’ve even less chance making them mean something to clients. Qualifying Business Value Where there is continued scrutiny and accountability on marketing budgets – especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic - earned media is remaining a vital component. In the current climate, we are seeing just how weather-proof PR is compared with other marketing specialisms. The question is not whether PR is valuable or not, it’s how do we quantify this value back to businesses? PR is, quite simply, playing catchup due to the lack of quantifiable measurement, forecasting and reporting – and a lot of this is through no fault of PR professionals. Yet, the emergence of wider marketing capabilities that are shinier, newer and - above all – clearer tends to raise questions about how money could be better spent. It’s time for a new normal in PR and PR measurement. The closer integration of digital marketing and PR is key to achieving greater clarity, and digital PR itself has the potential to turn complexity into insights that can truly transform the industry. Through its growth and by adding quantifiable metrics that enable non-PR people to not only understand but also communicate value, PR can be completely rejuvenated. Join us on our Journey It’s never too early to prepare for tomorrow. AxiCom earned its reputation through its strengths in media, analyst and influencer relations. Now, we’re evolving our digital marketing capabilities with a heavy focus on measurable and integrated campaigns to demonstrate the true value and clarity of their impact to clients. Over the coming weeks and months, we will be taking you on our PR measurement journey as we explore everything from existing metrics, what is actually being measured, the myriad of monitoring and analysis tools at our disposal, approaches to consolidating and visualising data, and the over-arching frameworks that shape the whole process.