What’s in the Black Box?

Today's guest post is by Peppercommer and RepChatter Co-host Deb Brown. Be sure to check out Deb's blog, StandUpExecutive.com.

Boxes1 Last week, one of my colleagues and I sat in on a webinar about measurement in public relations.  We were curious as to what the speakers had to say, especially since we have our own proprietary measurement program at Peppercom called Business Outcomes.  The webinar included one of the large PR firms talking about the industry and discussing their measurement program and best practices.  Also included was an executive from a major corporation who talked about a recent campaign.

After hearing the speakers, it’s clear that a) nothing seems to have changed when it comes to measurement in public relations and b) the measurement everyone is still talking about is elementary. 

One comment, in particular, jumped out at us.  The woman from the large PR firm said, “We’re challenged by clients all the time when they ask ‘Where did you get the number?’”  This was brought up as the discussion centered around Big Data.  How do we effectively measure when there’s an overwhelming amount of data? 

The speakers talked about how big data –unstructured data – is put into an unknown black box that generates some mysterious analytic. This is the number that clients are questioning. 

Clients should never have to ask that question, and ours never do.  Or, if they do ask, it’s never a challenge.  It’s always an easy explanation. The reason is that we have complete transparency in our system and we focus on what the client wants measured.

The other major takeaway was how topline or superficial measurement in PR still is.  Our system is anything but.  Yes, we can show topline information and holistically look at the account. But, we can also dig deep and show, on a granular level, where there may be an issue with a campaign and how to fix it, as opposed to aborting the campaign.

So, how is our measurement system different from what we’re seeing in the industry to date?
•    It’s completely tailored for the client’s definition of success – it’s not a one size fits all.
•    It’s  able to tell clients, very specifically, what is working or not working with a campaign.
•    It’s able to show multiple correlations among various data points.
•    It’s extremely flexible and can measure any type of data that is important to a client.
•    We show our clients exactly what is being measured and how.  There are no secrets.

If this webinar truly represents the PR industry, then it’s clear that the industry hasn’t made much progress at all on measurement. 

On the flip side, if this webinar truly represents the PR industry, then it’s clear that there’s a difference in Peppercom’s Business Outcomes program – a truly measurable one.

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