Crunching the Numbers: How to Tie PR and Sales

April 17th, 2014
by Crystal DeGoede
Photo by PRNews

Photo by PRNews

The PRNews PR Measurement Conference in Washington, D.C. earlier this month provided a platform for the industry’s measurement experts to share their knowledge and strategies. Yesterday, we wrote about Mark Stouse’s recommendations for thinking like a CEO to link PR efforts with sales numbers. Today we cover the second half of the presentation, in which Angela Jeffrey, managing director U.S. at Salience Insight, brought metrics and formulas to help realize those PR-sales metric connections. If you want to DIY and need an easy formula for calculating ROI and cost efficiency, here are the formulas Jeffrey explained.

ROI=Payback-Investment/Investment*100
Payback = incremental revenue
Investment = what you put into it [either in time (calculated as dollars per hour) or in dollars]

Here is a simpler formula for determining the correlation between ROI and PR. It is not a valid ROI but is valid a contribution toward it.

Revenue Event= (Payback-Investment)

Where payback is incremental revenue and investment is what you put into it.

To calculate cost efficiency metrics by your activities, use:

Cost-per-impressions (Tweets, Fans, Website Visits)
* Add up target impressions
* Divide campaign costs by impressions
* Results: Cost for one person to see your item

You can use the results for a specific survey or campaign to compare cost against the total of progress seen.

Cost-per-awareness (Attitude, Understand, Preference or Loyalty Uplift)
* Gather percent of uplift in survey scores
* Divide campaign cost by percent gain
* Result: Cost of percent gain in survey results

When it comes to measuring your web analytics, do your homework first.  Understand Google Analytics and be able to create goals and funnels. Having those goals and funnels in place actually helps you determine what you want your outcome to be. Most of us do not usually get the opportunity to influence sales. So where you can, define macro and micro goals.

An example of this was developed by Avinash Kaushik, where he created a formula or assigning dollar results to micro goals, which can show progress against macro goals, and can be established with a bit of internal research and agreement with management. An example of a micro goal would be a “contact me” sign-up form, and a macro goal would be a $500 sale or donation garnered from that signup form. So if it took ten “contact me” sign-ups for one sale or donation, that would mean that each sign up cost $50.

Once you have your goals established, set up a goal funnel to compare your web analytics with the channels.  Track visits and dollars spent from each channel and divide the revenue by number of visits from each platform to compare values-per-visit.

If you use a competitive share of voice, which is weighted tonality, to link outcomes, you can see the correlations. But earned media coverage analysis must include qualitative measures like message, prominence, or dominance, as well as quantitative measures like number of items or impressions.

Ultimately, successfully measuring the link between public relations and sales means a lot of math and careful analysis, but streamlining your processes and orienting them toward measurement will lead to reliable data that gives you deeper insight into your PR efforts. How are you tying your ROI & Outcomes/Outputs to your PR and Sales activities? Which measures give you the most insight?

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Think Like a CEO: Measuring the Link Between PR and Sales

April 16th, 2014
by Crystal DeGoede
Think Like a CEO: Measuring the Link Between PR and Sales Mark Stouse Crystal DeGoede BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas

Photo by PRNews

How do you measure the link between PR and sales and drive brand revenue and engagement?

Last week I attended the PRNews Measurement Conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The annual conference brings together the most spirited group of measurement experts.

The session started off with its first speaker, Mark Stouse (Twitter: @markstouse), VP Global Connect at BMC Software. He stated that there are three big questions that every CEO wants the answer to, not just from the sales leaders or marketers but from everyone within the organization, including PR practitioners:

1. How well are you performing in your area of business?

2. How well are you leveraging the resources you already have?

3. What contributions are you making to the organization?

What the CEO or CFO of your organization cares about the most is revenue, margin and cash-flow. In order to make your way into a position of delivering value to the CEO and answer those three questions, you have to start thinking like a CEO. CEOs don’t care about possibilities, they care about probabilities; nor do CEOs care about how creative something is, they care about if it actually works. So, when CEOs talk about cause and effect, they want to see correlation (at a minimum), and preferably, causality.

Your c-suite expects you to understand what you do so well that you have the necessary data in-hand and are confident enough to present this data at any time. If you cannot predict what the outcome of your PR is going to be, then a CEO may see your success as luck, whereas if you’re able to use your data to predict an outcome, that would show skill. Showing the relationship between  public relations and sales through data-driven correlation and causality is critical to obtaining executive buy-in.

Stouse recommends four key steps to success:

1. Think like a CEO

2. Understand your functional performance
3. Understand what ROI really is
4. Connect the dots with sales productivity

Another way to tie your PR measurements and metrics to sales is to support the three legs of sales productivity (below) and to tie investment to revenue, margin and cash-flow.

1. Demand generation
2. Deal expansion (sale to the same person)
3. Sales velocity (close the deal quickly)

According to Stouse, we are all in sales. We have to sell to people on the outside and on the inside. It redefines the marketing mix model.

If you tie into the numbers and the money you will be credible and get that seat at the table.

Check back tomorrow for mathematical insights from the session’s second presenter, Angela Jeffrey.

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Heels vs. Flats: The Qualitative Metrics Your Measurement Might Be Missing

April 14th, 2014
by Johna Burke

Heels vs. Flats: The Qualitative Metrics Your Measurement Might Be Missing Johna Burke BurrellesLuceHeels vs. flats; of course there’s a difference.

No, this isn’t a misdirected post intended for 5inchandup; this is very much about media analysis and intended for those of you who rely on technology alone to gain insights from your news coverage.

How are shoes relevant? Because if you rely on software alone to tell the story of your media results, you’re potentially sawing off the branch you’re sitting on – the branch needed to demonstrate the value of your media relations efforts to your organization.

You see, I love my Jawbone Up Band and app, which tracks fitness, food, and sleep. It provides me a baseline to understand how active or sedentary I am day to day. On any given day I wear heels or flats – some days both. There’s no way to log this into my app, but I feel the difference in my legs and shoulders depending on the weight of my computer and whether I’m wearing flats or heels. My app consistently tells me the number of steps and distance I’ve traveled, but without the ability to qualitatively alert my device to the external factors (heel height, weight of computer bag, flat or hilly terrain), the app is limited to what true insights I can gain.

The same goes for your media coverage.

All media coverage is NOT created equal. Often times an outlet is a primary sorting field for many organizations, but depending on the goal, a hyper-local outlet could be far more influential based on the measurable objective. Example: An organization has a production plant in Bisbee Arizona. The media relations department has a goal to reduce talent acquisition costs by 10 percent for the fiscal year. This includes recruiting more local talent who do not require relocation services. In this example, it’s easy to understand that The Bisbee Observer, the town’s weekly newspaper, would be far more critical to achieving the goal than, say, The Arizona Republic. Unless your goals are aligned with your efforts, it is nearly impossible to show anything more than activity.

One common misconception in the marketplace is that public relations practitioners have to settle for the metrics provided by their software because they either have no extra time to drill into the results qualitatively, or it’s too expensive. That’s simply not true. In order to better understand if you are making progress toward achieving your goals (and ultimately saving money on efforts that are not supporting the end goal), you can work with a random sample of your coverage to glean real insights.

Granted, if you are reporting on only a sample (i.e. Google Alerts) of data, the challenge becomes more problematic. Without a larger purview  your ”sample” could be very limited and as a result, your insights and ability to project future actions and insights is equally as limited. The ”cost” of not doing deeper analysis could be much more costly to your organization if you continue down a path that is not garnering the results needed to achieve your goals.

While I’m not a digital native, I love my technology. I wear it, carry it and I’m lost without it should a battery need charging. At the end of the day there are other factors that let me know my Up Band is really working, and those results are reflected on the scale, in blood pressure results, and in overall well-being, things which my device alone cannot provide.  There’s no silver bullet to health and without adding insights to the fast metrics available, there’s no silver bullet to bettering your communication efforts as they relate to supporting your organization.

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Inside the Minds of Journalists: Tips and Insights From the Media

April 10th, 2014
by Ellis Friedman
film screenshot by unknown, in public domain via Wikimedia Commons

film screenshot by unknown, in public domain via Wikimedia Commons

In the modern era of newsrooms, journalists are trying to get out more stories, capture distracted audiences, and work within a number of financial constraints. In working with journalists, public relations practitioners in turn face more competition for coverage, an array of preferred approaches for working with journalists, and the challenge to provide more tailored pitches to reach a wider swath of audiences.

On April 1, PRSA New Jersey held a Meet the Media event on the future of journalism. Our VP of Agency Relations, Colleen Flood, attended the event, which featured a panel of five journalists who answered questions about their decisions, challenges, and relationships with public relations pros.

The panelists were Geoff Mulvihill of the Associated Press; Terrence Dopp of Bloomberg; Michelle LaRoche of The Wall Street Journal; Doug Doyle of WBGO radio; John Ensslin of The Record; and Walt Kane of News 12 New Jersey.

Moderator Ken Hunter, president and chief strategist at The PowerStation and membership chair of PRSA New Jersey, asked one of the most PR-centered questions toward the end of the event: When it comes to relationships with PR pros, what suggestions did the panelists have for PR pros to get to know journalists without being intrusive?

Mulvihill said simply to make sure your expert is truly an expert. Kane elaborated that is important that public relations practitioners know the topics on which he reports, and that the experts he interviews act like experts; what he doesn’t want to hear from people he interviews is “Go to my website” or “Read my book.”

Dopp wants PR pros to give him a strong reason why he should care about your expert, and reiterated Kane’s stance that the PR pro must know what he reports on. Ensslin said that it’s ideal to establish a relationship with the reporter before a breaking story, and Doyle added that the key is to be timely and know how your expert can connect with a story and why the news organization would run topic or expert.

When asked about what reporters feel is lacking on a corporate website, and how often the panelists would visit a corporate website, Kane remarked that media contact information is often difficult to find. Mulvihill added that many websites are also missing headquarters locations, and that information is not always up to date.

Hunter also asked whether it’s important to get a story first or to get it right. All panelists agreed that getting it right is vital. And while they all understand what it feels like to get incorrect information and have to issue a correction, Dopp noted that if the same source repeatedly provides incorrect information, trust is quickly lost, so it’s vital not only to the story, but to your relationship with journalists, to always double-check your facts.

The topic then turned to news cycle, when Hunter asked how a journalist knows a story has run its course. Ensslin looks at whether the story has legs – if every week there’s new information, they need to cover it. Doyle puts himself in the readers’ shoes, and when he selects stories he tries to think about what readers are thinking that day, though if there’s a breaking news story, that all goes out the window. These insights provided a few great takeaways – making sure any pitch is relevant and timely to the publication’s readers, and examining whether you or your expert can provide new information to give a story more legs.

What other methods have you found to be effective for working with journalists? How do you foster balanced relationships with journalists?

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The Infographic Guide to Measuring Your Public Relations Efforts

April 7th, 2014
by Ellis Friedman

Measurement has been a big topic in PR for decades, but it continues to dominate our discussions because the digital age has given us more tools, metrics, and points to measure than ever before. We know it’s important to establish measurable goals and set benchmarks, but what about the actual tools for measurement? How do we get started with the tons of data at our disposal?

Ensure you’re measuring the correct things – outcomes, not outputs – and consider integrating tools like Balanced Scorecard, the Barcelona Principles, and the Sources and Methods Transparency Table. Learn how to use big data the right way by deciding your most important metrics and making decisions based on facts and evidence.

To help you fill up your public relations measurement toolbox, we’ve created this measurement primer. For more detailed tips and insights, check out our newsletter, Finding Meaning in Measurement.

Measurement_Info_FNL2

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