As we found in the latest roundtable on measurement, which we have been conducting in conjunction with the Institute for Public Relations, there is still a lingering fear of hard-line accountability that may prevent PR pros from implementing measurement programs.
But according to Rick Watrall, SVP at ImmediateFX, which measures all of a company's marketing efforts, they'd better get used to it. "There was that nervousness on the marketing side years ago," he says. "But on the advertising and media sides, they realized they had to deal with it."
The irony, he says, is that PR is no slouch in the measurement stakes. "They should not be afraid of measurement, they should embrace it," Watrall emphasizes. "Relative to other marketing-mix drivers, it usually does very well. When you think about it, how much do you really have invested in PR? However [much], you are getting bang for it, which is impacting the business."
Mark Weiner, CEO of Delahaye Medialink, says that the current trend toward marketing-mix modeling is a boon for PR. "It is an opportunity for PR to more scientifically define what it can deliver," he explains. "All marketing now, of which marketing PR is an element, can be quantified in terms of what it delivers to sales."
It also hits on another point that some say is a problem for measuring PR. That is, that some believe that PR is more art than science and that much of what communications professionals do cannot and should not be measured.
But in the marketing world, not only won't that kind of squishy logic hold water, it's also far too narrow. Working from this kind of data means that "PR can focus creative resources on those elements that are more likely to drive sales, which is a good thing," Weiner says. "You can focus your creativity on the targets that deliver."
PRWeek debuts new marketing column
The need for us to more aggressively tackle measurement and other issues relating to PR and its place in the marketing mix was the impetus for our launching Inside the Mix, a new column that debuts this week. The column is not an isolated example of PRWeek's marketing-related coverage, which has grown significantly over the past year. Rather, it is a way to synthesize many of the innovations and themes that are emerging in a fast-changing market.
Written by Eleanor Trickett (PRWeek's features editor and deputy editor), Inside the Mix will examine trends that are creating new pathways for PR, obstacles hindering its progress, and where the discipline would be wise to tread. It will evaluate the new marketing thinking that is dominating the industry today and offer a way forward for PR professionals to take the lead.
The new column will include: reviews of high-profile consumer campaigns from a holistic marketing perspective; profiles of industry pros who are creating innovative marketing/PR programs for companies; interviews with advertising, direct marketing, and branding pros on trends in their industries, and analyses of integrated programs, both from the perspective of the marketer and the firms offering them.
Please submit ideas and suggestions to Eleanor Trickett via e-mail, email@example.com.
- Julia Hood