Posts Tagged ‘AMEC’

Setting Measurable Objectives: Key to Proving PR Value

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Setting-PR-Objectives-Infographic-CLIP-pmAs you’ve probably heard, this week is PR measurement week, part of AMEC Measurement Month.

TIP: If you’re interested but not sure you’ll be able to attend one of the live webinars this week, go ahead and register—you’ll receive an on-demand playback link afterwards!

The AMEC North America chapter kicked-off Measurement Week 2016 Monday morning with a Twitter chat. The chat was followed by an afternoon webinar on setting measurable objectives, led by Mark Weiner, CEO PRIME Research North America, moderated by AMEC North America’s Co-Chair and BurrellesLuce’s CMO, Johna Burke. In this post, I’ll be recapping that webinar.

The most common PR challenge is proving the value of our work. This is often difficult because value is so subjective and individual—varying from one organization and/or person to another.   Weiner suggests the key to success is setting proper objectives and then meeting (or beating) them.

Just what is a “proper” objective? A proper objective should be three things:

  • Meaningful – must be tied back to the organization’s goals (e.g. increasing business performance such as sales or stock price, optimizing labor by attracting and retaining top talent, avoiding loss by averting a crisis or potential reputation disaster, etc.)
  • Reasonable – openly-negotiated, aggregate opinions of top executives and discuss what is really reasonable, then get confirmation and approval to proceed
  • Quantifiable – must answer what, who, how much (by what amount should the metric change) and when (not open-ended)

Let’s focus on the quantifiable objective-setting process. In my experience, this is the step that stumps many of us.  Weiner suggests you take these steps:

  • Review past performance by looking at past objectives and the results, compare to competitors, and determine what would be a realistic increase.
  • Document the public relations objectives in writing (being sure to answer the who, what, when and how much questions).
  • Share the objectives with the executives with whom you originally spoke and with anyone who may be involved in resource allocations, negotiate final details and get authorization to proceed with the plan (as well as publishing the final plan with key executives).

The webinar wrapped-up with an objective-setting checklist (mainly covered in the previous two paragraphs) and examples of what are not proper objectives.  The examples included actions or activities (such as “create press release”, “plan special event”), and goals or aspirations (such as “get more media placements”, “improve brand reputation”. These may move you toward achieving your objective, but are not objectives in and of themselves.

In his final remarks, Weiner cautioned, “Objectives are not fate, we have to work hard to set and meet objectives. They provide direction, help departments prioritize, focuses energy and helps management align with public relations. Objectives must be specific, measurable and unambiguous.”

I want to thank Mark for all this great information and guidance, and invite you to add your own thoughts here in the comments section.

Continue to check back for more posts recapping many of this week’s PR measurement activities!

AMEC North America Kick-off with #PRMeasure Chat

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016
Word cloud image created from the chat content

Word cloud image created from the chat content

This week is the third annual AMEC (International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication) measurement week here in North America—as part of AMEC Measurement Month.  There are PR measurement-related virtual events all week. The best part? They’re all FREE! Just go to and register for any you’d like to attend. Even if you aren’t sure you’ll be able to sit-in on the live webinar, if you register you will receive an on-demand playback link afterwards.


Measurement Week 2016 kicked-off Monday morning with a Twitter chat using the hashtag #PRmeasure. The chat was hosted by PR News and featured Measurement Hall of Famers Mark Weiner, Linda Rutherford and BurrellesLuce’s own Johna Burke.

I have personally been active on Twitter since 2008 and have participated in more chats than I can remember. I don’t say this lightly and can honestly say, this was one of the most robust chats that I’ve ever participated in, with more than 20 questions and netting more than 400 tweets in one hour!  It offered so much valuable information that it would be impossible to summarize into short form—simply wouldn’t do it justice.  Instead, we’ve created a Storify for your review. It’s not every single tweet but way more than what I’d call a “recap”.

Watch here for more posts recapping many of this week’s PR measurement activities!

Build a Framework for Better PR Measurement

Thursday, October 30th, 2014
Build Framework Better PR Measurement BurrellesLuce Media Measurement PR Software Public Relations media monitoring press clipping

flickr user Markus Grossalber under CC BY

by Sharon Miller

Showing the impact of your PR strategy is perhaps the most vital aspect of proving the effectiveness of your campaigns and growing your future public relations strategies, but it’s not easy to determine which data is important and which analytics you should focus on. At this year’s PRSA International Conference, I attended a session about just this issue. The day’s experts were Jeni Chapman, US managing director of Gorkana; Sparky Zivin, director at Brunswick Group; and Elizabeth Stoltz, senior research associate at Ketchum.

The panelists stressed that the industry-level goal is to build frameworks, akin to the Barcelona Principles. The advocate abandoning silos and having PR and marketing teams work together to share and talk about their plans and objectives.

As PR pros, it can be difficult to determine what conversations you should listen to, as there’s a lot of noise out there. The panelists suggest getting rid of the noise and focusing on quality. And getting quality in your data is crucial, as the AMEC International Business Insights Survey showed that 67 percent of clients request a clear financial ROI.

The importance of a framework is twofold: first, it helps define your PR activity with content creation, traditional media, social media, influencers, stakeholders, and events. It also helps you measure intermediary effects like audience reach, impressions, and number of articles.

The panelists presented a case study of an Aquafresh campaign, in which the Tooth Fairy left her calling card, or a note in a box for a child who lost a tooth. There was a two-minute song that incentivized brushing teeth, and the length of that song was based on the American Dental Association recommendation that people brush their teeth for two minutes.

In addition to a great PR response that included Tooth Fairy inflation (higher prices for a tooth), kids also talked about how much money they received for their tooth. The measureable outcome resulted in a 2.7 percent increase in sales, and the PR team got a larger budget for marketing because the management saw how PR drives noise.

Panelists also presented a UNICEF case study, which showcases the steps PR pros should take to an effective, measurable campaign. UNICEF’s goal included a global strategy across their more than 100 international offices. They followed precise steps, first selecting their audience, which included youth (to inspire action), the middle class, government and corporations, and their employees, who would hopefully drive the initiative.

They defined key objectives for each audience, including reaching one billion around the world and getting them to take action and getting 50 million of them to actively engage. Next, they adapted their measurement framework to include voice, reach, engagement, brand, and message delivery. They then selected KPIs in each framework element, including quality of communications activities, quality of noise, and quality of reach.

Next, they applied tools and mechanics to measure the impact of their work, which included social media engagement, event attendance, online followers and supporters, and behavioral changes like volunteering.

With a framework like this in mind, it makes measuring your impact an easier, more precise job. And remember that though there are plenty of algorithms and automated measurement tools out there, nothing will ever replace human judgment.

What do you think are the best steps for devising and measuring an effective PR campaign?

Measurement Week Interviews: Mark Stouse

Friday, September 26th, 2014
Measurement Week Interview Mark Weiner BurrellesLuce Media Monitoring PR Software Public Relations Media Measurement Press clipping

flickr user HeavyWeightGeek under CC BY

Last week was AMEC’s International Measurement Week, and to honor it, we reached out to some of the top measurement experts to get their take on measurement dos and don’ts, common mistakes, and how they found themselves a member of the Measurati. We got such an enthusiastic response that we’re extending our celebration to include all their answers. We’ll be running their answers all this week, and be sure to check out our latest newsletter for measurement insights from 11 other experts in the field.

Let’s hear from today’s featured expert, Mark Stouse, creator of the Influence Scoring System.

What is your “measurement moment,” the time you knew your career was becoming measurement-focused?

My “measurement moment” happened in 1992 when I left the profession and agency life, a departure I assumed at the time was forever. I moved into a series of business roles, including sales, product development, and ultimately leader of a new business that I created in the defense sector.

Looking back, it is clear to me that this decision to join the business was the best investment I ever made in my marketing and communications career. Its impact on me has proven as indelible as any tattoo.

I got a very intense education in what it means to be in business. For example, I gained a new appreciation for what it meant to make quota, not just in the conventional sales sense, but also as a leader who had to make payroll. My vision of things became significantly enlarged. I began to understand how hard it is for a CEO to balance everything that a business is, particularly all of those often zero-sum investment choices that must be made in a rapidly growing enterprise.

I began to see life through the eyes of a business leader, because that’s what I had become. Today, that perspective still is very present in my conversations with CEOs and other leaders, even though I earned it years ago in a much smaller company.

I sold the company in 1999, and I re-entered the profession on the agency side. But I had changed dramatically. From that point forward, I operated as a business leader who happened to specialize in marketing and communications. The result was a completely different approach, one that focused – above all things – on connecting marketing and communications investment to business drivers.

Today, I’m pleased to say that we’ve done it.   We have a proven methodology, manifested in a cloud-based platform that correlates investment in Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned (PESO) channels to both functional outcomes and business impact, including revenue, margin and cash flow. But to be honest, I doubt very much that I would have pursued those connections to business impact if I had not first discovered what it means to be in business instead of just being in a business.

What is your proudest measurement moment?

In 2008, it became clear that the Influence Scoring System (ISS) actually worked, not just at the marketing and communications level but with the CxOs that was designed for in the first place. The system showed for the first time that it could tie investment in both Earned and Shared programs to both functional outcomes and CFO-certified business impact.

It didn’t take long for ISS to start receiving tangible recognition. Based on its data, we received large increases in our budgets during the depths of the recession. Later, it won a BMC Innovation Award – it was the first time that anything outside of the company’s product line had won the award. In 2014, ISS was recognized as the Innovation of the Year in Marketing and Communications, and then it received the Holmes Report Diamond SABRE Award this past May in New York City. We had come a long, long way.

What is your most important piece of measurement advice?

There are several important pieces of advice. First, start with the business KPIs and drill down into your function. Anything else is classic “inside-out” thinking and will not get you where you need to go.

Second, remember that the C-suite only cares about the past if that data strongly suggests what’s going to happen next. If it doesn’t do that, you’re wasting their time and yours too. Third, get clear on what ROI is and is not. By definition, ROI is a cash-on-cash number, so it applies to business metrics like revenue, margin and cash flow. The number of impressions you racked up last quarter is not the ROI on the investment you made to get them.

What’s the most common measurement mistake you encounter?  

Reporting out again and again and again on metrics and KPIs that business leaders don’t care about. When they see that you actually use them to run your function, it dawns on them just how disconnected you are from everything about the business. That’s why you have no “seat at the table” during normal business hours.

Tell us a breakthrough story, in which you took your company from metrics to KPIs.

I joined BMC Software in early 2006 to lead Communications. The team was the “tail on the dog” inside the company. We were order takers and the last people in the company to know anything. The team’s only metric was a quarterly clip book, and even that was not exactly anything to brag about.

Soon after, however, we replaced the incumbent agency with Waggener Edstrom, and we immediately began to publish a standard report of coverage and the common metrics we all know so well: volume, tone, reach, share of voice, etc.

In early 2007, I presented my thinking about a new system to the executive team, one that would begin to connect the dots and demonstrate progressively stronger correlations between their investment in Comms and our business impact. They gave it the thumbs up, though even they didn’t see how it could be actually implemented.

But by the end of 2008, we had moved well past the retrospective view into the ability to accurately forecast of our future performance. We also showed an ability to understand, calibrate and manage our opportunity cost, ensuring that a lot more of the money we were spending “ended up on the screen,” as they say in Hollywood.

As the data rigor in the system began to deepen and strengthen, our conversation with the C-suite and the sales teams began to change rather dramatically. By 2009, we were launching nascent connections between ISS and sales data. Our first success was in demonstrating how, why and to what extent we were helping to drive faster sales velocity. Everyone looked at the logic path and the data connections and said “Wow!” Actually, it was more colorful and emphatic than that, but you get the point.

And from that point forward, we were off to the races.

What do you see as measurement’s biggest challenge ahead?

It sounds like a simplistic answer, but we have too many people in marketing and PR who chose the profession because they were not good at math. We spend time asking “Is the PR profession creative enough?” when we should be asking, “Do you understand how your business makes money?”

I see a lot of people in marketing and communications today who are real scared of measurement and the accountability that goes with it. This aversion to data and the language of the business world is the single most destructive thing in our profession today. It’s time to do what is necessary to get over that fear.

There’s been a lot of work done at the tactical end of things to try to standardize marketing and communications metrics. But the only standards that are determinant here are the standards of the business. Several years ago, a really famous tech CEO said to me: “Your colleagues need to understand that we (business leaders) expect marketing and communications to understand our standard of proof and meet it, not develop their own.”

Bonus question: You just won the lottery. What’s your dream job?

I’m an innovator. I’ve been one all my life. My 8th grade teacher wrote “Innovator = Big Helper” next to my name in the yearbook, and that’s really how I think about it.

One day, I’d like to apply that bent – and all I’ve learned about how to innovate – in the service of humanity. For that reason, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has a very special attraction for me. Not only for the work they do, but for the way they have disrupted philanthropy by driving a very strong tie between their investment and real impact on the ground.

When I look at what they’ve accomplished, it pushes all of my buttons.


Measurement Week Interviews: Katie Paine

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014
Measurement Week Katie Paine BurrellesLuce Media Measurement AMEC Public Relations PR media monitoring

flickr user antony_mayfield under CC BY

Last week was AMEC’s International Measurement Week, and to honor it, we reached out to some of the top measurement experts to get their take on measurement dos and don’ts, common mistakes, and how they found themselves a member of the Measurati. We got such an enthusiastic response that we’re extending our celebration to include all their answers. We’ll be running their answers all this week, and be sure to check out our latest newsletter for measurement insights from 11 other experts in the field.

Let’s hear from today’s featured expert, Katie Paine, measurement queen and CEO of Paine Publishing. She has founded two measurement companies and is the author of three books about measurement. Her latest book, Measuring the Networked Nonprofit, Using Data to Change the World,won the 2013 Terry McAdam book award.

What is your “measurement moment,” the time you knew your career was becoming measurement-focused?

1,698 Measurement Weeks ago, I did my first research project for Fujitsu Semiconductor. I was 29, an Asian Studies major working in Silicon Valley. I knew nothing about semiconductors, but had to make a key decision about where to spend the budget. I did a cost per lead and cost per impression analysis of competing semiconductor trade magazines, relative to the media coverage they’d given us and the competition.

As a result, I was able to carve $100,000 out of my and put it to better use. My first benchmarking project followed shortly – I interviewed 20 of my peers in Silicon Valley to find out how much of their budget they typically spent on a product launch. – That got me a $3 million advertising and marketing budget for the following year.  I quickly learned that for an ex-journalist Asian History Major working for engineers in Silicon Valley, nothing impressed like data and charts and graphs

What is your proudest measurement moment?

Getting the Social Media Measurement Standards written, approved and published in 18 months

What is your most important piece of measurement advice?

Data without insight is just trivia, make sure your measurement report connects the dots, don’t just throw data over the cubicle wall.

What’s the most common measurement mistake you encounter?

Not tying results back to business goals (also known as confusing outputs and outcomes).

Tell us a breakthrough story, in which you took your client from metrics to KPIs.

In the last few years I’ve taken a tourism destination, a major pharma company, an international non-profit, and a bank from AVE hell to integrated outcome metrics that tie their communications activities directly to business goals.  And, as it happens, the tourism destination has used the metrics I created for them to mitigate disasters, save a ton of advertising dollars that were being wasted, and show the direct correlation between PR efforts and intent to visit.

What do you see as measurement’s biggest challenge ahead?

Lack of insight, or to put it another way, we need to integrate all the various types of “big data” with the little data such as what was the program, the post, the video that caused that big data to change.

Bonus question: You just won the lottery. What’s your dream job?

Writing the great American novel from my farm in Durham, New Hampshire.