AMEC Measurement Month is coming to an end. In celebration, Board Advisor and professional consultant, Andy West, did a quick Q&A for us about the importance of measurement and evaluation in the PR and communications industry.
Why do you think measurement and evaluation is so important for PR and communications?
Our profession must demonstrate the value it delivers to the businesses it serves. It can only do that by measuring what matters. And what matters is to align key metrics with mutually agreed business or organisational outcomes.
Evaluation is the subtle art of taking what has been measured and using the data to analyse past performance as a core method of informing future strategy. As Einstein is rumoured to have said: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Can you explain the ways measurement and evaluation may differ for different kinds of Comms teams (in-house, agency, and measurement vendor)?
There is no one single blueprint for measurement and evaluation. Whilst there are broadly acceptable standard metrics for earned, paid, owned, and shared campaigns, the choice of metric and, more importantly, the way they are tracked, collated, and reported upon will vary based on the resources available. Additionally, every organisation is a different stage in their measurement journey. Therefore, when designing a measurement framework, approaches taken must reflect the needs, understanding, and appetite for data of all stakeholder groups.
Are there any new technologies which have you excited about the future of measurement and evaluation of data?
There is an ever-growing suite of technology platforms that can gather data from across the communications ecosystem, presenting it back in dashboard formats relevant to key stakeholders up to, and including, C Suite. This increase in options is facilitated by the ongoing consolidation of the measurement vendor community through acquisitions and mergers, all of which has resulted in a few ‘mega-vendors’ who provide a full suite of tech driven services. On a positive note, this trend has greatly lowered the barrier to entry in skills terms to agencies and in-house teams wishing to monitor, measure and evaluate across a wide range of media channels. That being said, it is really pleasing also to see that specialist vendors, alongside well-resourced agency teams, also continue to innovate. You can see this by the latest winners of the 2022 AMECC Award.
Do you have any concerns about the future of measurement and evaluation?
Measurement and evaluation will be in the spotlight through 2023 as the economic headwinds force communications professionals to prove the value of their work. The danger is if the industry fails to deliver on the promise of measurement, forcing it to retrench with budgets under pressure.
Do you think the importance of measurement and evaluation in PR and Comms is going to increase or decrease?
Measurement and evaluation will continue to grow in importance for the reason stated previously. There is now wider appreciation of the role measurement has in evaluating more than just performance. After all, it is a critical step in analysing strategy and for ensuring constant refreshing of campaign direction. Without it, communications will never secure the strategic importance that it deserves.
How can organisations create a culture which celebrates data measurement and evaluation?
Celebrating data measurement and evaluation must start with the organisation adopting a truly transparent agenda where comms teams know and understand every aspect of the business goals faced by the CEO. Only then can measurement be truly embedded in every communication function so that success is achieved which aligns with the success of the business. When this happens, celebration is not just about a measurement win, but about recognising the contribution comms has made to the stated goals of the organisation.
If your organisation is just getting started with measurement and evaluation, what are some of the key, guiding principles they should follow?
The best starting place for any organisation getting started is with the AMEC Measurement Maturity Mapper. https://m3.amecorg.com/
This is a survey-based diagnostic tool designed to help professionals at any level of sophistication, and from any type of organisation, better plan their measurement and evaluation journey by clearly benchmarking where they are starting from in the process.
From here, the AMEC Interactive Framework provides a consistent and credible approach that works for organisations of all sizes, any desired objective, and with any size of budget. https://amecorg.com/amecframework/
Today, organisations from the world’s largest multinationals to the smallest non-profits are using the framework to plan and measure their communications effectiveness.
Alongside these two key tools, the guiding principles when designing a measurement approach are defined by AMEC’s Barcelona Principles: https://amecorg.com/barcelona-principles-3-0-translations/
The 2021 evolution of the globally trusted Barcelona Principles has sharpened the communications industry’s focus on inclusion, impact, and integrity.
These principles should underpin and inform any measurement approach planned by any organisation.
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