Kimberly N. Alleyne
So you launched a slick, shiny new branding campaign or communications plan that has award-winning potential. Now what? How do you know the strategy is strategic enough, that it will move the needle the way you envisioned–get media attention, spur business growth, increase sponsors, advertisers, attendees, voters, or advocates? How will you determine if the tactics are effective? How can you monitor whether the strategy supports organizational goals as well as the strategy goals you’ve defined? One word: metrics.
Comms and PR pros have debated metrics–if they matter, which ones matter, and whether to measure at all — for at least a decade. The esoteric metric has confounded us because we were not first sure where or how to begin measuring, or how to take measurement results and interpret them. But now we do!
Here are reasons to include metrics in your next, or even current, comms plan:
Gauge It! — Determine your plan’s progress, impact, and effectiveness
- Milestones: Did the plan prompt a record year in sign-ups, new Twitter followers, donations, new memberships, or event attendance? Your metrics will tell you.
- Progress-to-Plan: You said you’d have 10,000 new members by June 1. Are you there? Are you close?
- Short-term victories: You don’t have to wait until the close of plan implementation to begin measuring. In fact, you want to measure throughout the life of the plan. Use metrics to alert you of your short-term wins.
Metrics tell you if there is a need to shift or revamp your strategy. Maybe the messaging is off. Perhaps you’re talking to the wrong audience. Maybe you need to adjust the timeline.
Show Impact on Business Growth
Increasingly, communications are being used to drive sales/revenue, and customer acquisition and retention. The right metrics will show how communications affect a company’s bottom line. You’ve heard of Return on Investment (ROI), and Return on Engagement (ROE); think of this as Return on Communications (ROC).
Proving Value and Credibility
What is the business value of communications and public relations? Many company executives and industry professionals have tossed this question when faced with staff reductions and shrinking budgets. In recent years, PR professionals have been more intentional about demonstrating the value — tangible and intangible — of our work. Metrics are telling the story.
The right metrics will show how communications affect a company’s bottom line.
Testing! Use metrics to test audience engagement and the strength of your messaging. Are people reading? Are they listening, watching, sharing your content, commenting on your brand’s social platforms? What are your open rates — have increased or decreased since plan launch?
Who Are They?
Metrics give insight into your audience’s behavior, interests, and preferences, as their adoption. And metrics are sometimes a signal of a deeper story or problem that you’d otherwise be unaware of.
Sustainability/Campaign Life-Span and Effectiveness
So your plan has been performing at or above expectations for one year, but what about the year 2 mark? How will you know when it is time to modify, re-direct, or even end a campaign or strategy? Was it a fluke that you got 10,000 new Twitter followers in two days? How do you know when to change the narrative, the frame of the campaign? Well, yes, metrics will give you answers to these questions.
At the end of your plan or campaign, metrics will tell you clearly your results. Did you meet your goals and objectives? Metrics are a great learning tool to help you understand whether your strategies and tactics were spot on, and what to do differently in the next campaign, or to eliminate altogether.
If you are a communications or PR pro, then metrics are your friend. Spend time with them. Let them talk to you. Determining which metrics to use, and then culling and interpreting the data can be tedious, but it’s well worth the investment. Stay tuned for my upcoming post on valuable metrics. In the meantime, share what metrics you use, and how you use them. Leave a comment. Happy measuring!