PRXNE 2016 conference logo

Data, Business, And Context

Chris Penn, one of the brains behind the podcast Marketing Over Coffee, gave a fun keynote on data-driven PR at this year’s PRXNE 2016 conference (side note: clap-clap to UMass Boston’s Campus Center, gorgeous building and views, and great service). The main lesson? Measurements and data (the new “synergy”).

Data means research. As Chris said, “Feed your brain: don’t eat Mac and cheese all the time!” That’s exemplified in Shift’s job descriptions that include a 30-minute daily reading (I’m guessing a minimum). But data is not enough. It’s also very much about context and what makes sense for your organization.

If you’re trying to build a grassroots campaign for a city, maybe data will feed into a behavioral strategic planning. Similarly, not all measurements are created equal and can only speak in context and for your organization. Take social media, the hot-topic in PR. Why does your organization do social media? Don’t try to answer just yet, instead read Katie Paine’s super useful new summer reading posts compilation.

“It’s 2016: I’ve been measuring social media for a decade!” But then I realize how many organizations are still just starting to dip their toes in the social media waters.” – Katie Paine, The Measurement Advisor, July 2016

Decide: What problem are you using [social media] to solve?

Substitute [social media] with other communications or marketing approach and answer.

Engagement v. Impressions: forget impressions!

“In 2014, in an address to PRSA’s International Conference, Mike Buckley, Facebook’s Vice President of Global Business Communications, was asked how much of all the content on Facebook is actually read by a human being. His response: 3%. Which means you do not reach the 100,000 people who Like your page with every piece of content you post.”

These are also called “Opportunities to See”, as Michelle Hinson reminds us in “When it comes to impressions I’m not impressed,” a great post on P&G’s Always #LikeAgirl campaign (full article avalaible, watch the video too!).

And yes, big numbers are impressive (especially since that’s how expectations have been set in PR forever…), but translation into business opportunities (i.e. sales, new collaboration, etc.) is really what you’re after.

Data in context.

For example, you want to look at “shares” compared to your competitors, “shares” that are positive or negative (i.e. more or less likely to buy your product), etc.

On top of these essential posts by Paine, make sure to read “Burn It Down, Start From Scratch And Build a Social Media Strategy That Works”, a must-read post by Augie Ray with essential tips and a new frame for understanding social media.

Bottom line: you need to build your own scorecard (or dashboard) with the metrics that make sense for your organization’s business and institutional goals.

What was your takeaway from PRXNE 2016? How to you measure the impact of your communications program? Thanks for reading and sharing.


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