By MARK WEINER
Chief Insights Officer
Every organization has an objective. Whether it is profitability, growth or sustainability, every employee and representative must give their best effort to make a positive business impact. Enterprises must overcome the hurdle of integrating disparate aspects of the business to understand how each department relates to each other to discover what’s working, what’s not and what should be done about it (and when).
Leading companies overcome this challenge by translating the unique languages of communications, finance, marketing, sales, production and other essentials into a common language: data. Data is the basis of business and boardroom decision-making.
Public relations and communications are not exempt. And yet, measurement continues to vex our profession and stunt our potential due to an unwillingness to measure by communicators who choose not to, and the isolation of PR data among those who do. Nearly 75 per cent of chief communications and chief marketing officers don’t feel that they are fully capitalizing on all the benefits of technology and data to modernize their communications programs.
As professional communicators, we must align common practice with the demands of the business. If executives require information and context to determine which investments are most likely to produce viable long-term success, PR’s earned media data stream must integrate with other business data to make more holistic investment decisions. If PR performance is not quantifiable, integratable and insightful, it’s almost impossible to demonstrate — and generate — a positive contribution towards the organization’s objectives. In the absence of a robust calculable PR foundation, investments will continue to go to those who can provide the necessary data, and public relations will continue to struggle.
The purpose of this paper is to share the good news — a new approach to fact-based earned media optimization reveals how a combination of advanced technology and expert talent supplement existing methods to help revolutionize earned media, communications and marketing decision-making.
While earned media and public relations play an essential role in building the brand, generating revenue, creating efficiency and avoiding catastrophic cost, most practitioners and even leaders don’t quantify their contribution. Vague, indeterminate measures like “buzz” or “breaking through the media clutter” may mean something within the public relations community, but they mean nothing to the C-Suite. According to the 2017 Global Comms Report, 75 per cent of senior executives feel the comms industry can do better at measuring and proving its impact on business objectives. Top executives need complete and meaningful communications intelligence, and so do we.
In a market intelligence analysis driven by Cision®, market research firm Demand Gen Report interviewed 169 management-level marketing and communications respondents from B2B companies in North America. The study, The Shifting Strategies for Earned Media, found that earned media influences performance marketing.
However, most PR people are measuring earned media efforts via web traffic, clips, pickup, likes, and shares because it’s difficult to quantify PR’s effect on leads generated, conversion rate tracking, revenue, or other meaningful measures of business impact. As a result, public relations remains on the periphery of the marketing mix.
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