PR Measurement Wars?… No good can come of this

posted by Brendan Hodgson

A colleague recently forwarded me this, and I have to say I’m a tad disappointed. Sensationalism aside, and I’m as guilty as anybody since I certainly don’t have any real intention (in case you wondered) to strap on a mask and cape, but how can this kind of discussion be even remotely helpful to our industry?

Too lazy to click the link? Here’s the gist…

PR Measurement Wars: Who’s Winning?

With so many ways to measure media relations impact, who’s got the winning formula?

Is the old measure of advertising equivalency on its way out, or is it stronger than ever? What about MRP (media relations rating points) and CPC (cost per contact)? Do either measure online impact? With so many sources of impact data and research, who are we to believe?

They’re all here, so decide for yourself!

To suggest that one system of measurement is better than another simply doesn’t make sense to me. It’s like comparing apples to oranges. Campaigns are different. Objectives are different. Media targets are different. If MRP makes sense, do it. If CPC is the measure that speaks to the bean counters, do it. If it’s hits to a website, downloads, leads generated, positive messages, increased share price, blog mentions, impressions, registrations, buzz (however you define that), or a combination of all of the above, then do it. Establish the objectives, set the benchmarks, identify the tactics and the metrics by which to measure and which satisfy the expectations of the client, then go for it…

Now before you go calling me a party pooper, I recognize that a degree of sensationalism drives registrations, and I don’t deny the AMA the right to do what it needs to do to get bums in seats. But I worry that this trend toward putting one formula for measurement above another is less than helpful to the credibility of our industry. I hope the discussion itself will be more enlightening than the advertising for it. 

6 Comments
17

Jan
2007

Andrew Laing

You’re quite right, Brendan. I just asked the chair to kill the Canadian Idol ‘vote’ for the best measurement system. However, I believe its more of a bums-in-seats marketing ploy to get people to listen to what should (fingers crossed) be a good discussion about various approaches to media measurement offered.  Then it’s up to each audience member to decide what’s best for them.

17

Jan
2007

Ian Ketcheson

Hey Andrew,  Convince them to do one of these up in Ottawa. I’d be curious to hear your perspectives on social media measurement and analysis.  

17

Jan
2007

Brendan Hodgson

ditto that!

19

Jan
2007

Melody

A little late on this debate, but I have a problem with measuring PR only through media coverage, which many of the systems you outlined do. I guess I have a hard time when clients ask for one system to measure "apples to apples" but then ask us to deliver an orange.

19

Jan
2007

Brendan Hodgson

Melody, I feel your pain…

23

Jan
2007

Katie Delahaye Paine

I vote for Melody’s Meaasurement –this unending obsession with media as the only measure for PR has got to stop. PR is about PUBIC RELATIONSHIPS! and we should be measuring those relationships, and awareness and preference and understanding. Who cares how many eyeballs you’ve reached if it costs a fortune and doesn’t move anyone to buy a product or support your cause?

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