4 simple PR measurement objectives

In the first installment of a series on measurement, the author explains how to make sure your boss or client is satisfied with your measurement efforts.

Jessica, a promising new assistant account executive with our firm, requested a meeting due to an “emergency client issue.”

She said that she didn’t understand what went wrong.

“We had this incredible launch of the new Loved Ones Alarm Clock. Jon Bon Jovi played. There were 80 journalists at the party,” she said. “After it was over, I did a media analysis that showed we had gotten 500 hits and 10 million impressions, worth at least $20 million in Advertising Value Equivalents (AVEs).

“I sent the report to the client. He said that he had just gotten back from a big measurement meeting in Barcelona, had taken a look at the media analysis, and told me if he ever saw something like this again, we would lose the account. What went wrong?”

I asked what she was trying to do with the launch.

“We wanted to throw a great party to get journalists there and create buzz.”

“The client didn’t hire you to throw a great party, Jessica,” I said. “They hired you to make people aware of this new alarm clock, generate sales and make sure that consumers know the special features of this product. And, when you say ‘buzz,’ do you mean the sound the alarm clock makes?”

Adding value

There are four simple things you can do to ensure a satisfied client or boss when it comes to measurement:

1. Set goals before you start the project. Determine who you want to change, what should change and when this will happen. Jessica’s goal could be to reach 25 percent of all consumers ages 25 to 34 without children by the end of 2011, with the message that the Loved Ones Alarm Clock exists.

2. Add quality to measurement of media coverage. Jessica should have gone beyond tracking impressions. Determine the number of target audience members you reached and whether those messages included key product features. And forget about AVEs—they’re useless.

3. Work with your client.
See if your client has an ongoing brand or advertising tracking survey (most companies do). Ask them to attach several questions to such surveys that track outcomes instead of launching your own survey right away.

4. Give them what they want. If the client conducts any form of market analytics, then provide your media measurement data to the client or his analytics department in a manner that will be useful to their market analytics efforts.

This is the first of a series of measurement columns I will be writing for PRSA’s monthly newspaper, Public Relations Tactics. (The stories are being syndicated on PR Daily.)

We’ll explore measurement with your own organization and what market analytics mean, among other measurement-related topics. Please send your measurement questions to AskDocRock@prsa.org. Each month we will pick one or two of them to answer here.

A version of this column was published in the January 2012 issue of Public Relations Tactics.

David B. Rockland, Ph.D. is partner/CEO and managing director for the research and change communications businesses at Ketchum. He has held leadership positions in corporate communications and research throughout his career, with extensive global experience in both fields.

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