PR Measurement – Are we Measuring Our Efforts to Change?
Googling around the subject of PR Measurement will point to a goodfrom 2001 by someone called Michael Fairchild a former director of what was then known as Shandwick, who wrote the IPR
“Theory and practice about planning, research & evaluation () in PR still outweigh best practice”. Words that could have been written yesterday.
He goes on to quote a PR Week survey of 180 clients that reveals that 43% of respondents used anecdotal information or gut feel to evaluate and only 7 per cent linked PR to business evidence of success.
His article makes good points about how PRE is a defence against economic downturns heading our way and that if PR is to be taken more seriously amongst senior managers then PRE must be properly resourced and training provided.
Everything he says makes sense and everything could be re-stated today with just as much conviction.
But if the argument still applies – that we need to be better at it to be taken seriously, then it means that nearly 20 years on, we have failed in achieving that goal.
An entire generation of clients and practitioners have entered the market and what was said then has not been passed on and become received wisdom.
The industry is in rude (economic) health according to the, seeing another successive year of growth in revenue, headcount and optimism amongst practitioners.
(There is a slight sense of “tractor production hits new highs” about the PRCA Census)
So you have to ask, if the evidence is that the industry can enjoy healthy, sustained growth without nailing the thing we’ve been sayingis holding us back, then should we stop beating ourselves up and accept that the market ain’t all that interested in what we think it wants to hear about this 'vital' topic?
Is it past the time we actually evaluated how effective the message about evaluation has been and focused on giving the market what it wants?