I love it when I get to read really smart analysis (thanks, Twitter) and love it even more when it comes from two smart people, Katie Payne and Todd Defren.
Todd blogged about this yesterday, but he and Katie had an exchange in which Katie commented on one of Todd’s recent posts about isolating public relations vs. marketing efforts. For those of us who have struggled with this, it’s hard – first of all, from a turf perspective. Marketing will want to claim credit for sales or brand awareness, and public relations will want to say that they are the air cover for the ground war — they created “awareness” which helped the marketing and sales people in the end. In Katie’s newsletter, she commented on Todd’s POV:
“Another popular reason that PR/SM ‘can’t be measured’ is that, ‘You can’t isolate PR from everything else the organization is doing!’ But yes, in fact, you can. It might take some coordination with advertising, or some sophisticated ANOVA (Analysis of Variance) but it can be done, and is being done every day. (Measurement is) hard … particularly for the math-phobic PR folks. It requires calculations and analytics and a bunch of things that PR people hate.”
Yout both are tight. Measurement IS hard. I hate math. Hell, I am adjunct faculty at Georgetown and got a “D” in the one undergrad math class that I took.
Damn Those Obstacles!
One of the texts in my class is the Bible of PR Measurement, Katie’s “Measuring Public Relationships.” All of that mathy stuff can, in fact, get done and made into pretty PowerPoint slides that anyone can understand. The fact that it can be done often runs into the immovable force of it will get done.
For what Todd and Katie are discussing, I see two major obstacles: human and fiscal capital.
By “human capital” I mean you have to find someone who not actually gets this stuff, but who is also committed to the idea that you can indeed offer precise measurements of public relations, marketing and other communications efforts — and isolate each one.
By “fiscal capital,” it’s more obvious, but most of the medium and small businesses (and even some of the large ones that I worked with in my 15 years on the agency side) can’t afford or don’t understand why they need to shell out the bucks for an outside firm like Katie’s. Katie – I have no idea what your billing rates are, so please don’t flame me!
There is astronomical value in measuring communications efforts. The hard part is very much related to a post that I wrote last week: “How To Sell Social Media to Your Dumb-Ass Boss.” It’s frustrating when you see the real value of something — and how it has the potential to really impact your business — and you get the “deer in the headlights” look from the people in the corner office.
In retrospect, maybe I’ll start a series of posts called “How to Sell REAL Public Relations Measurement to Your Dumb Ass Boss.”
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.