Your All-Purpose Guide to Finding the Right Communications Measurement Tools

The Paine of Measurement

Finding the right communications measurement tools is a difficult and often uncomfortable undertaking. In fact, it is almost as painful as our U.S. presidential election process (more on that here).

For both your search for tools and your quest for a president, you’ve got to do a bit of research to find out what the vendor (or candidate) is legitimately offering. And you get bombarded by marketing and messages, badgering you to try something that really doesn’t meet your needs. You often end up settling for a compromise or something less than you had hoped for.

The good news for selecting measurement tools is that if your choice doesn’t perform like you expected, then you don’t have to wait four years to make changes.

When I started out three decades ago, there were no tools, just humans. And it was almost entirely a service business. That all changed when media went online and sentiment became automated. Suddenly there were dozens—and then hundreds—of tools to choose from. Now you can “easily” measure PR, social media, marketing, email, internal communications, and, of course, “ROI.”

Except that:

  • Most measurement tools aren’t all that easy or intuitive,
  • None of them really measure ROI,
  • Most require a fair amount of customization, and
  • Unless you invest a lot of time effort and energy, you won’t get the results you expect.

Last week was the PRSA 2016 International Conference, which is like the New Hampshire Primary for measurement tools. Before PRSA begins, every vendor rushes to get their messages out and their “New and Improved!” product working. At the conference they show it off to thousands of PR people who gratefully sip the proffered wine, eat the candies, grab the swag, and nod appreciatively at the demo. And then they forget everything they just heard. Those of us in the Granite State do the same thing with presidential candidates every four years.

I know all this because I used to be one of those vendors. But now that I’m on the consulting and reviewing side, I get to see the good, the bad, and the ugly of a whole lot of them. Which is why we’ve decided to devote this month’s issues of The Measurement Advisor to discussing measurement tools, how to choose them, and how you can more easily use them. Our coverage includes:

And as bonus articles in this issue, we have:

Here at Paine Publishing we can’t make the process of electing our government leaders any easier, but we certainly can make selecting the your communications measurement tools a little less painful. Let me know what you think about your experiences with measurement tools. (And, as always, remember that my consulting services are always available to you!)

Happy measuring,

KDPaineSig(Thanks to LumberJocks on Pinterest for the image.)

About Author

Katie Paine

I've been called The Queen Of Measurement, but I prefer Seshat, the Goddess.