The order of the day was a candid and critical introspection of the PR industry’s usage (or lack) of analytics, despite the noble work of AMEC.
'PR analytics are stuck in the 1980s… We cling to glossy coverage books and vanity metrics like a cat with dead bird'.
The consensus was that too many still focus on measuring the outputs of their activity, rather than measuring contributions toward achieving business objectives and outcomes – nothing new there of course…
There’s not enough willingness in the PR community to improve workflows, processes and thus metrics.
The fact the one trade body in particular only devotes just two of its 370 page handbook to measurement speaks volume.
One speaker (the only one from a marketing background) point-blank refuted the perception that somehow PR is more difficult than other forms of marketing to measure.
‘Not having a measurable, unique call-to-action is an abdication of responsibility’
One armed tied behind the back
It’s not all down to PRs. Most media publishers refuse to give accurate, real time circulation figures, instead opting for inflated, periodic figures (they are fighting for survival after all in fragmenting landscape).
Nonetheless, PR’s reluctance to objectively measure their outcomes devalues the profession. Acknowledgment of failure doesn’t have to be a bad thing in itself – however if you don’t learn from failure then you really have failed… badly.
So, is PR being taken over by IT people?
Perhaps not in the literal sense. IT professionals are not going to assume responsibility for press campaigns anytime soon…
But the tools required for integrated PR measurement are very much the remit of what used to be regarded as IT (CRM, click-through and IP address tracking etc).
It’s high time more PRs were pragmatic about the challenges facing the industry. We can help. Visit www.forfusion.com/pr to find out more.