This piece originally appeared as a free article in the Late July edition of The Measurement Advisor.
In this great piece in ClickZ, Stephanie Miller makes the excellent point that the key to figuring out the value (she calls it ROI, but I won’t go that far) of social media is to partner with your CRM team to get the right information. I would suggest that you take it one step farther and rethink your entire organizational structure.
For years PR has been siloed from pretty much all other departments, certainly from advertising and all too frequently from social media. And measurement never really had a place at all.
But now that big data is getting all the attention and made measurement and assessment a pivotal piece of every program, it is imperative to take immediate action to break down your silos and reorganize your department in a way that facilitates data sharing.
Instead of the traditional org chart that probably looks something like this:
Why? First of all, while it is common practice, it is also the epitome of stupidity to have separate measurement programs for traditional and social media. Any good measurement company today is offering both traditional and social media. Since your typical reporter is also on Twitter, and almost every media outlet has a Facebook page from which they gather story ideas and comments, there is no longer any difference between social and traditional media gathering. There are influential top tier media that are both social and traditional, and then there’s everyone else.
Which leads me to rationale #2: Influence today comes in many forms. Certainly traditional journalists are still influential, but so are individual bloggers, YouTube stars, and your own customers. Which is why CRM, social media listening, and customer and competitive intelligence all need to be united in one department. They are all various forms of listening and tracking customers. They should not be separated by even a cubicle wall, never mind many hallways or even buildings.
Rationale #3: Your current organization is probably wasting money. The overlap in measuring and listening and research services in most companies is staggering. I went into one company to discover that 23 different social listening platforms were being used. That means that at least 23 people making at least $100K a year were spending time doing the exact same things, just sitting in different offices. And wasting somewhere around $2 million a year.
The smarter and more successful companies (i.e., my clients), are saving hundreds of thousands of dollars a year by cross-training a few smart marketing analysts (a.k.a. Measurement Sherpas). These analysts use market research data as well as their CRM platform, their social platforms, and their traditional media platforms. They combine the data and present an integrated report every month that reveals the real impact of PR and social media — as in growing the marketing universe, changing customer perceptions, bringing in leads, and doing all the other things that communications is meant to be doing.
So, as you are putting together your budgets for 2016, (see “How to Create a Budget Your Boss Will Love, in 5 Easy Steps”and “Five Tips to Make Sure Measurement Stays In Your Budget”) you might find that you don’t have all the information you need to make better decisions. Why don’t you think about building into next year’s plan a new organization chart that will get you the data you need? ∞
(Thanks to Stonewell Ministries for the image.)