There is no doubt that communications measurement has been one of the most keenly discussed themes in the communications industry. The evolution of the industry has highlighted the need for an effective and rigorous way to measure its value. However, it is interesting to note how this conversation has moved on. Whilst a few years ago the focus was on criticism of flawed and outdated metrics, now it is a discussion of how data analytics based frameworks can offer a solution.
How can a culture of measurement be fostered in consultancies? The first step is to get people on board and excited about it! Whilst every consultant doesn’t need to know the finer details of how an analytics dashboard works for example, understanding the importance of measurement in further improving client relations is vital. Clients are likely to value consultants more if they know exactly how good the work is and what they are getting for the money spent on it.
The next step is to get buy-in from the senior team within the consultancy for which it’s important to understand their priorities and tailor the conversation accordingly. Having sophisticated measurement frameworks that measure the qualitative beyond the quantitative will help in client retention. This in turn helps the consultancy protect its revenue lines. Also, measurement can help in business development; demonstrating that it is taken as seriously as the creative ideas and having clear and sophisticated evaluation can make a difference to a consultant’s presentation to a prospect.
And finally, we move onto having more meaningful conversations with clients and prospects. A great way of starting this is by asking them the right questions. Do they track the traffic on their website and digital channels? If so, can they share the analytics? How do they track sales? Having access to the right data helps in measuring communications work in a much more strategic manner.
Often measurement can be glossed over in client meetings as the focus remains on big campaign ideas. However, it is important to establish at the start clear KPIs which factor in not just the outputs (volume / quality of media coverage) but more importantly outcomes (how does the campaign support the client’s business strategy) and outtakes (how has this campaign or activity impacted awareness? Has it increased advocacy? Has it seen a shift in end-user adoption?).
Big data and analytics have been buzzwords for measurement, discussed at several industry conferences and networking sessions. However, they now need to become part of a consultancy’s day-to-day working.
In 2018, we can be certain that the role of communications will be moving up in board meeting agendas as businesses navigate a complex media and regulatory environment. This will be accompanied by a growing need for budget justification. So, communications consultants will need to start putting measurement at the forefront of their conversations with clients and prospects to remain ahead of the curve.
This article is part of our Autumn 2017 newsletter.