Shankhassick Farm, Durham, New Hampshire, U.S.A.
Dear Measurement Friends,
I write this just as I’m getting ready to spend Thanksgiving in Berlin, Germany, on a teaching assignment. Given that I’m not a huge fan of turkey or American football, I’ll admit that I’m not sorry to be missing the great American celebration of gluttony, tryptophan, and pigskin.
Everyone should get out of their country at least once a year. You learn a tremendous amount about yourself, other cultures, and the planet we live on. A trip to Slovenia and Romania this spring gave me an entirely new perspective on what it must be like to be a refugee, landing on the likely-hostile shores of a new land.
International communications measurement is often fraught with confusion. Over here in the States, us measurati prattle on about how we need to be measuring our contribution to business. But when you get into a meeting in Warsaw you’ll realize that the biggest barrier to good measurement there is the marketing folks back at the U.S. headquarters who demand that their overseas measurement teams report with AVEs. Or worse, they demand “impressions,” even though there may be no reliable source for those numbers.
As you’ll read elsewhere in this issue, it isn’t all bad news on the global measurement front. In a few areas—mostly Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the UK—business metrics are becoming more common, and there is general agreement that AVEs are, if not dead, then at least qualifying for hospice.
Perhaps the greatest recent international victory for good measurement is AMEC’s “Say No to AVE” effort. Closely followed by the dustup caused by CIPR suggesting that it might actually kick out members who continue to use the hated metric. (If you still use AVEs, then here’s how to adapt when the time comes to say goodbye.)
In Africa, great progress is being made in adopting standards and attempting to put an end to the use of AVE. Our former Measurement Maven, Philip Odiakose of P+ Measurement in Nigeria, has been indefatigable in his fight to “just say no to AVEs.” His firm disseminates all the best in measurement news and recommendations on its blog, and is in general leading the fight for proper communications measurement on the African continent. (You can read his report in this month’s International Perspective article.)
Eastern Europe is also making progress in replacing vanity metrics with real results. My “FIBEP tour” last spring generated strong interest in good metrics and many excellent conversations with organizations who are taking a step back and rethinking how they define success. While I was in the area, I worked with two major brands to craft business-driven measurement dashboards, one of which would be the envy of any supermarket chain in America. Similar efforts are also taking place in Slovenia. (Read Marjana Harcet’s report from Slovenia in this month’s International Perspective article.)
Sadly, in too many parts of the world, communications measurement is still undervalued and therefore underfunded. Too often “measurement” is just a fancy word for that list of clips you generated, and “key influential media” is just a list of media outlets that cover you most frequently. Such metrics will only change when global headquarters demands it.
This month’s International Communications Measurement Issue includes:
- Reports from our eight global correspondents in “The International Perspective on Measurement: Reports From Around the World.”
- If you are just getting started in international measurement, you will appreciate our article “Quick Tips for Measuring Globally, or, What to Do When a Popular K-Pop Band Has the Same Name as Your Product.”
- Wherever you are, measurement has got to express its results in business terms. We tell you just how to do that in “How to Show Your Contribution to the Bottom Line — Anywhere on the Planet.”
Given that it’s the Thanksgiving season, we are very thankful to all the measurement mavens who have made such great progress this year. (Especially Mary McNamara, our Measurement Maven of the Month.) Thanks to them we can be cautiously optimistic that 2018 will be full of better metrics.