It’s November, which, for analytics professionals, means is the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communications’ (AMEC) Measurement Month—a great initiative highlighting the critical role of measurement in communications, and an excellent opportunity for me to personally reflect on how measurement has had an impact on my career.
In the brief time since I have joined Ketchum, I realised how difficult executing truly successful communications plans can be. Every time that I start to work on a new project, all these questions come to mind: How do we know if a communications campaign was effective? How do we know if we effectively reached our target audience? Did our message resonate with said target audience? Did they comprehend it in the way we wanted them to?
I soon learned that in order to address our clients’ challenges and help them achieve their business goals, we need to go beyond answering each of the questions above with a simple yes or no. We need to connect all communications efforts to actual outcomes. It is not enough to simply count basic metrics—we need to know if our work has driven any key business results and to what extent. Asking the right questions and creating the right measurement framework actually allows us to continuously optimise campaigns, better understand our target audience, prove ROI, and tell compelling stories using data.
As the measurement industry continues to change and grow, knowing there are organisations like AMEC out there that focus on education, international standards and continuous innovation inspires me to never stop pushing for better answers to complex questions. If you, like me, are just starting out in the measurement world, here are a few lessons I’ve learned so far that you might find helpful.
1. Measurement isn’t just about where we have been—it helps us understand where we are going.
Measurement not only gives us critical information about the value of our work, but it is the best method to identify the most effective and efficient ways to achieve our clients’ goals. The communications landscape is ever-evolving, which is why, despite its intricacy, measurement is now an indispensable component of every campaign no matter the size. Effective, up-to-date measurement allows us to learn from our mistakes, celebrate our successes and become better communications professionals.
2. Measurement can’t be an afterthought, and takes time to be done properly.
Goals simply aren’t goals if they aren’t measurable, and therefore a sound measurement framework is paramount to any communications campaign. Having a clear measurement framework that everyone agrees to from the outset of a campaign is essential to ensure clients can visualise, and ultimately see the return on their investment. Metrics need to be considered and chosen carefully, in line with the business and communications objectives of the campaign.
3. We should always start and end with the audience
When creating a measurement framework, understanding who we are talking to is key. Tracking how well our communications tactics are resonating with a brand’s target audiences will help us shape and shift a campaign according to our audiences’ views, preferences and circumstances. Beyond more efficiently capturing their attention, it also helps us to anticipate, identify and address any future crises.
4. Clients want to understand the return on their investment.
As mentioned, we need to measure our work to establish the economic value of our efforts and calculate the benefits of each individual campaign. Measuring our outcomes is not only important from an internal perspective, but it also helps us show our clients that our work had a positive impact on their business goals, and proves that the investment they made in our work was a worthwhile one.
5. We have a responsibility as measurement professionals to tell a story.
Finally, measurement is not only about numbers, but rather using data to tell a compelling story. Clients are seldom interested in complex data sheets; they want to understand the story behind the data. What has this campaign done for my brand and my business in a very real way? Successful integration of the entire team working on a project, from analytics to client service, allows you to see the big picture and create a compelling, data-driven story.
If you’re new to the field, and the madness of AMEC’s Measurement Month, visit their website. There is a ton of helpful information and tools like The Barcelona Principles, the industry-wide framework (created by Ketchum legend David Rockland) for effective public relations and communication measurement. If you’d like to learn more about how we measure success at Ketchum, please get in touch with us here.