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November 21, 2010

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Duncan Hopwood

Interesting and provocative, Katie. I would hesitate to agree that press releases or direct mail are dead but their ability to reach audiences is increasingly diluted. This is also true for "new" channels, of course.

Lee

I wonder who you voted for in the last election... I try and keep my politics out of my consulting practice. If something like direct mail is profitable for a client, we will keep doing it. It just becomes a matter of priories.

Jeff Molander

Hmm.

1) Katie... respectfully, this is a total straw man argument. Also, I'm not sure that it's logical to claim direct response measurement is flawed if it doesn't take into account that which cannot be reliably, qualitatively measured (PR campaign's impact on customer behavior).

2) I don't know that "the real cost" is ever (should ever) be put before a client's bottom line profit. Frankly, what's environmentalism have to do with it? And who gets to determine what is and isn't effective? Seems to me that is left exclusively to the business analyst... the person who's using actual profit metrics.

Thanks for considering.
Jeff

Queen of Measurement

Jeff. I have spent the past 23 years measuring PR in concrete and quantifiable terms, so you need to update your knowledge base a bit. "PR campaigns' impact on customer behavior" CAN and IS being measured on a regular basis. Start here: http://www.instituteforpr.org/research_single/using_public_relations_research_to_drive_business_results/
and here http://www.instituteforpr.org/files/uploads/SWA_GoldenRuler.pdf
To your second point, communications professionals should be (and are) developing their metrics in collaboration with those business analylsts who product thos proift metrics. That is precisely HOW they are measuring the "real cost" and the "real value" of what they are doing. In a world where consumers are increasingly basing their decisions on the sustainability of the brand, environmentalism has everything to do with it.

ragtag.wordpress.com

Thanks Queen of Measurement, I read Jeff's comments with dismay. More and more people judge a company on it's sustainability and impact on the environment. I don't appreciate waste in the pursuit of profits and like 99.75% of people can't stand direct mail.

John Ledingham

Katie:

I proposed to my spouse by having a news release announcing our engagement delivered to her office. After 35 years, Pegge is still my best and most enduring relationship. And, yes, it is still the most effective news release I ever wrote.

John Ledingham
PR Professor
Capital University
co-editor
"Public Relations as Relationship Management"(Erlbaum, 2000)

Jeffreymolander

Hi, Katie...
No insult intended. And thank you for the schooling (links). This is actually what I'm after :)

Beyond that...
Causality. This is why you get the strong reaction from me. Because direct response is all about causality -- and actually being able to *prove* that your campaign actually did generate the response.

Of course, I'm setting aside the whole environmental question here -- for the sake of my point, please. And you are certainly entitled to your opinion... which I agree with. I'm at least recycling my junk mail!

I appreciate your scientific, data-driven approach to dissecting the IBM Lotus campaign, etc. etc. But in the end PR's key metrics (ie. "mentions"/outtakes) have yet to be truly, honestly causal in generating qualitative outcomes (sales and leads) in most cases (I'd love to hear of one where I'm dead wrong).

Rather, they're "less able to be proven causal" I suppose -- as compared to direct response.

Again, thank you for sharing your research links with me.

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