Using Measurement and Evaluation to Take Business to Next Level

November 3rd, 2017
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By: Pam Golden, President, GLA Communications*

Photo courtesy of PRSA

If you ask most PR professionals, measurement and evaluation is an area we struggle with whether you work for an agency or in-house. Johna Burke, Chief Marketing Officer for BurrellesLuce, one of the industry’s most respected experts on measurement, presented “Use Measurement and Evaluation to Take Business to the Next Level,” at the 2017 PRSA International Conference. No matter how many presentations and webinars I attend on this topic, there is always so much more to learn and Johna shared concepts I hadn’t considered.

Of course, intellectually we know we should tie our communications objectives to an organization’s business goals, but do we always? With PR fighting for share of wallet and marketing budget, it is more important than ever to have clear and measurable objectives. Johna calls them SMARTER objectives:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely
  • Ethical
  • Revolutionizing

Together, these seven objectives can ensure that our programs and campaigns tie back to the business as well as demonstrate value, which is an overarching goal for all of us.

So, just how do you demonstrate value?  Johna shared four areas for us to consider:

  • Increase revenue, profit, growth, value, retention, ROI or ROA, efficiency, visibility
  • Reduce costs, time/effort, complaints, risk, turnover, conflict, paperwork
  • Improve productivity, processes, service, information, morale, reputation, skills, loyalty, quality
  • Create strategy, systems, processes, business, products, services, brand

According to Johna, we must make sure data and information are relevant for the audience; therefore  it is critical to understand where you are and where your audience is in the ecosystem. PR professionals need to think like analysts, which means we should be looking beyond the numbers and putting them into context and perspective for our audiences. That includes challenging what the numbers mean to show correlation to outputs and outcomes because without qualitative information the data is meaningless.

Johna pointed to the Integrated Evaluation Framework from AMEC – the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication as a great tool that was developed to help standardize evaluation and provide tools based on best practices. It is set up in seven sections designed to obtain qualitative information, not just quantitative data:

Objectives, inputs, activities, outputs, out-takes, outcomes, and impact

This interactive framework can be accessed here.

And, of course, none of this is really achievable without critical thinking, which is an essential skill, and Johna’s acronym – RED – says it all:

  • Recognize Assumptions
  • Evaluate Arguments
  • Draw conclusions

None of this is complicated, but it requires consistent commitment from everyone on our teams to ensure success.

*Pam Golden is president of GLA Communications which she founded in 1986.  Her expertise has helped fuel many successful communications campaigns including the launch of home satellite TV, DVD and HDTV. Pam provides high-level strategic and tactical counsel to GLA’s clients, bringing the benefit of more than 30 years of experience in creating and executing effective campaigns that deliver results. Pam is an active member of the Public Relations Society of America and serves on the executive committee for its Counselors Academy sector, where she is also chair of the programming committee. In April 2017, Pam was named as a finalist in the Leading Women Entrepreneurs “Brand Builders” category, which celebrates communications professionals who excel in brand innovation.

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