The Paine of Measurement, March 2022
I hate tools.
OK, OK, not all tools. The chainsaw Santa brought for Christmas last year was my very favorite present. And the portable impact driver and drill set I got this year was again top of my list. After making do with ancient, heavy tools that occasionally started, these brand-new wonders of technology have changed my life. I now realize how incredibly more effective I can be at fixing things when I have the right tool for the job.
It is communications measurement and evaluation tools that I hate talking and writing about. Not that I hate measurement tools themselves—I’ve invented and sold many of them over the years. They’ve made our lives easier, and benefited our clients as well. (Bonus points and free measurement swag to any reader who can name at least three of them that my companies introduced.)
I was, by the way, the first person to put media analysis to commercial use. You can read about it in this issue of The Measurement Advisor: The Princess and the Clips… The True Tale of the Birth of Modern Media Analysis.
Tools, tools, tools everywhere—and not a lot of think
What I hate is that people commonly assume that measurement tools will solve their problems—before they’ve actually defined what their problems are. Vendors are very happy to enable this misconception.
In fact, most of the discussion these days around evaluation of communications is about tools. Tool vendors today spend far too much time talking about them in columns, from podiums, and in social posts. So I get a little sick of hearing generic tool talk when so few of them are actually the right tool for the job.
As I’ve said many, many times over the years, you need to know what your goals are before you can even start talking about tools. In this issue we offer some help to get started: How to Navigate the Measurement Tools Maze.
Tool vendors are always trying to convince us that their product is New! and Improved! And we’re going to hear more of their fancy word salads as they try to tart up their offerings. What was “media analysis” a decade ago has now been rebranded as everything from “reputation management” to “audience intelligence” to “crisis management” to “sentiment analytics.” Trust me, it’s all based on the same basic technology, it’s just wrapped in different colors and interfaces. Read our explanatory glossary here: The No Bullsh*t PR Measurement Glossary.
It’s tool time at The Measurement Advisor
That said, once a year we here at Paine Publishing feel the need to let people know about measurement tools: what’s new, what’s on the horizon, and what you need to solve your problems right now.
- The tools-for-right-now answers you’ll find in this issue’s annual update of our Vendor Selection Guide: The Best Vendors to Solve 24 Common Communications Measurement Problems in 2022. It is organized around the typical problems us communications professionals face.
- The what’s-new-in-tools answers you’ll find in this article: 4 Measurement Tool Trends, New for ’22.
- As for tools on the horizon, as always, it’s more consolidation. This year started with Onclusive’s announcement of its merger with PRGloo and Kantar’s media monitoring system. This creates yet another industry Goliath to challenge the supremacy of Cision and Meltwater. We suspect, given the sheer proliferation of companies in this industry, that more consolidation is inevitable.
Also in this issue:
Measurement people do not live by tools alone:
- Kyne Santos Is Measurement Maven of the Month
- Bogus Super Bowl Media Values Are the Measurement Menace of the Month
- Your March 2022 Communications Measurement Reading List
- Daphne Gray-Grant’s Rapid Writing: Make Your Writing More Readable With Readability Stats
The right communications measurement tools are not just a click away
I soooo wish I could tell you that all your measurement tool problems will be solved by reading everything in this issue of The Measurement Advisor. Or that all the communications measurement tools of your dreams are just a click away. Alas, that isn’t the case. But this issue will make you a more informed consumer. And I so dearly hope that it will remind you to plan your measurement program first—before you go thinking about what tools you might need.