Last week the TrendKite team attended the PR News Measurement Conference in Washington, DC. The conference brings together PR measurement experts from brands and agencies for two days of networking and best practices. There was great information everywhere, but five big lessons stood out to us:
1. PR Measurement Finally Has a Seat at the C-Suite Table
That could have been the theme of the conference, as it was a subtext to nearly every conversation. Evan Carroll’s keynote kicked things off by quoting Peter Drucker - “What gets measured, gets managed.” Presenters like Southwest Airlines’ Cindy Villafranca and Hill & Knowlton’s Margot Sinclair Savell discussed best practices in creating dashboards to communicate value to an executive audience that has become accustomed to seeing a data-driven approach to every area of the business. Cindy recommends, “Pull in data from other sources (outside Communications) if it makes sense and shows a correlation to how your team supports the business.”
2. Measure the Business Impact - and Take Action
If PR has stepped up to the Big Data table, simply reporting the data is not enough. We have to know what the data means, and what actions to take in response. In his presentation on dashboards, TrendKite CEO Erik Huddleston said “Stop talking about data and start talking about impact.” He walked through a framework for measuring Brand, Digital, and Conversion impact, using example dashboards for Slack, Tesla’s Model 3 launch, and Chipotle’s E. Coli crisis - in each case, with actionable recommendations based on the data. Check out the dashboards here.
3. Social Adds Context to PR and Earned Media.
Social is its own industry (the S in the CMO’s PESO model of Paid, Earned, Shared, and Owned media). But social amplification matters. When PR is amplified by social, reach and impact are multiplied - and your audience is truly engaged. So everyone we spoke with was interested in accurately measuring social amplification.
4. Every Company is a Special Measurement Snowflake.
If we hadn’t heard AFLAC’s Catherine Hernandez-Blades speak, we might not know that ‘quacking’ could be a PR metric. Queen of Metrics Katie Paine pointed out that 'influenced sales might not be the right metric for an organization like, say, the New Jersey Tourism Board. And Villafranca said that Southwest’s PR department focused on building the company’s culture just as much as on messaging to external audiences. The common thread? Each company has its own goals, and therefore its own unique measurement strategy. Laying out the business objectives first, and then establishing the measurement framework, is the right way to ensure that measurement is aligned with business outcomes.
5. Web Traffic Matters to (almost) Every Business - But Is Hard to Measure for PR.
Whether from the podium or over post-event drinks with our friend and client Tom Huddleston (no relation to our CEO, although we think of Tom as a long-lost cousin!) from United Auto Workers, everyone talked about how their business objectives were tied to their company’s digital strategy. Yet PR pros are rarely versed in Google Analytics or similar tools, and struggle to prove the digital and conversion impact of their work. TrendKite CEO Erik Huddleston touched on this in his talk, where he tracked PR impact from Brand to Digital to Conversion. Good news for PR pros - within the next ten days, we’ll be releasing an eBook about Google Analytics for PR Professionals. If you’d like a sneak peek at how we integrate with Google Analytics, just ask us for a demo and we’ll show you how it works!