It’s been quite the month for measurement industry developments, and for most of that time I’ve had the unique opportunity to view them from 30,000 feet. In the past three weeks I’ve done measurement workshops in New Zealand, Australia, Croatia, and Estonia, and then attended the action-packed PRSA International Conference in Washington, DC followed shortly by the IPR’s Measurement Summit and the annual meeting of The Conclave on Social Media Measurement Standards.
The workshops were for banks, educational marketing organizations, NATO, and Estonian brand marketers. I met, lectured to, and discussed measurement with an amazing assortment of communicators. Despite the diversity of the audiences, there was a remarkable similarity in needs, wants, and issues:
1. The missing link of measurement: The connection between communications activities and business outcomes.
Whether you’re a Public Affairs Officer for NATO, a brand marketer in Estonia, or a health communications professional in Australia, you want a way to connect what you do to the success of the organization. Fortunately, today’s availability of data and tools makes that a much easier problem to solve than you think. Still, it’s not all a bed of golden wattle (the Australian national flower), as my next point shows.
2. Too many tools, too little integration.
A common thread among all these audiences and conversations is that everyone is looking for a single best tool, but frequently the data they want comes from a multitude of sources. There is no easy way to bring them all together. The sophisticated IT solutions like Tableau, Cliq, and others are far too complex for what the average communicator needs. And the multiplicity of “dashboards” offered by the monitoring companies don’t integrate the Google Analytics or Facebook Insights data that today’s communicators depend on to demonstrate their impact. So, around the world, everyday communicators struggle with lots of data and no ready way to handle it.
3. The language of business: Regression, correlation, and financial calculations.
Another common need is sufficient business knowledge to be able to quantify what your contribution is in terms that are acceptable to the C-Suite. Most communicators I spoke with understand that AVEs, impressions, and hits are dumb ways to measure. But they don’t have good alternatives. Not because they lack the tools, but because they lack the analytical and technical skills that most business majors learn in their sophomore year. The good news is that I met a number of Measurement Mavens along the way — like Michael Ziviani — who can provide translation.
The best news of all was that at the PRSA 2014 International Conference, measurement finally came into its own. As far as I could tell, no one was talking about why you should measure, but rather how. There were numerous case studies of good and at times pretty sophisticated measurement programs. 2015 just might be the year that AVEs are relegated to the dustbin of history. ∞