Ketchum: Measurement keeps PR at the top of the marketing mix

Erin Salisbury, senior project manager at Ketchum Global Research and Analytics, says PR measurement is essential for identifying the best opportunities, optimising campaigns and demonstrating success to clients.


How far would you agree that PR measurement is the key to proving the value of earned media and driving industry growth?

PR and communications measurement is definitely important. But in today’s disruptive environment, we need to take the measurement of several channels into account when we are evaluating in order to really prove the value and effectiveness of the work we do.

There’s an ongoing discussion of how we can prove ROI for comms activities, particularly when our media-buying friends have the tools and technology to do so at the click of a button.

We have to continue to educate PR professionals on the best ways to measure, and why it’s important to ensure they are continuing to get a seat at the strategy table alongside all the other marketing disciplines.

What role should measurement play in identifying the best earned media opportunities for your business?

I think there’s a huge role for research and measurement to play in identifying the best earned media opportunities for business.

By looking at performance of content on a specific topic, within a specific industry, or about a brand and its competitors, we can understand what worked in the past.

Pair that with some more advanced analytics and statistical modelling and we can make recommendations based on data and science that will provide clients and teams with the best opportunities – and forecast the potential change these strategic decisions can make for the organization.

Conducting research and utilising data should be the first stop in each PR campaign in order to plan strategically and bolster the chance for campaign success.

How greatly can companies improve the performance of their comms programmes by leveraging data, analytics and measurement insights?

Companies can only improve the performance of their comms programmes by using data, analytics and measurement insights if they are tracking metrics that ladder up to their overall business and communications goals.

Clients often ask us to use data and analytics after their campaign is over to prove success, but they’ve not set any benchmarks or clearly outlined what they set out to achieve. This makes it difficult for us to understand what “normal” looks like, and it’s therefore extremely tough for us to evaluate if the campaign over- or under-performed.

We’d never counsel clients to report just for reporting sake.

Measurement and analysis is only effective if we are looking at metrics that matter and can tell our clients how their comms activities hit their target audience and made them engage or activate in the desired way.

Historically, measurement has been something PRs do retrospectively after a campaign has finished. How far would you agree that incorporating measurement into your campaigns from the outset can yield better results?

It’s extremely important to track, measure and analyse data for campaigns throughout their duration. Doing so allows us to optimise and course-correct based on what we’re seeing, which ultimately allows us to yield the best results possible on behalf of our clients and avoid having to explain why something might not have worked after the fact.

At the same time, the deep-dive measurement and analysis at the end of the programme is also still extremely valuable, as it gives analysts the time to sit with the data, interpret it at full-scale, and provide actionable recommendations that can help drive success in future comms activities and programs.

Driving growth with PR measurement

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