6 Quick Steps to Connect Communications Efforts to the Bottom Line

One of the themes of the recent 2018 Summit on the Future of Communications Measurement was that it is vital—and soon will be absolutely essential—to show how your comms activities relate to business or organizational goals. So, if you aren’t doing it already, here’s how to start connecting your communications efforts to the bottom line. A key component is to express the value of your work in terms that can be readily understood by leadership. (Read more about that at “How To Show PR’s Contribution to the Bottom Line: 5 Steps to Demonstrate Your Value.”) Here is a quick 6-step process to get you there:

Step 1: Get a copy of senior management’s KPIs, strategic plan, and list of organizational priorities. Study them well enough so that you can recite them off the top of your head and discuss them with your manager.

Step 2: Now, gather your department and brainstorm about how they believe your activities contribute to those priorities, KPIs, and plans. Run those draft ideas past marketing and sales and get their input. If you have a consumer research or market research department get input from them as well.

Step 3: From those discussions, develop a list of proposed metrics. These are impact measures or acceptable proxies that are specific to your department. Figure out what data you need to track them. If the data is handy, draft a dashboard that will demonstrate how your metrics would be reported.

Step 4: Show your metrics and proposed dashboard to your boss, your boss’s boss, and the next level up in the marketing and communications chain. Make sure they all agree with your proposed metrics. If they don’t agree, get their input and go back to Step 2.

Step 5: Bake some cookies. (See our article, “Paine Publishing’s Measurement Beginner Tip: Bake Some Cookies.”)

Step 6: Take the cookies into accounting, finance, risk communications, and the COO’s office, and trade them for 30 minutes of their attention. Explain what you’ve done, and explain how you believe your metrics tie into their bottom-line metrics. See if they agree. Discuss until you’ve reached consensus. And if cookies don’t work, try a nice Cabernet, or maybe a single malt.

If they don’t agree, go back to Step 2 and develop new metrics. Don’t give up. The COO really does want the same things you do, but sometimes doesn’t understand your language or metrics. When they do agree, congratulate yourself and your team, and maybe open another bottle of that Cabernet. ∞

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