The Measurement Standard

November 18, 2010

Measurement Menaces of the Month: Companies Who Sell the Dream of Cheap Measurement

 Thanks to whirled musings for the illustration.

Proper measurement requires time and expertise, not just cheap technology.

This month’s Measurement Menace Award goes to all those companies who are selling the dream of cheap measurement. By implying that measurement requires neither know-how nor effort, these companies do our industry a great disservice.

The reason that auditors and specialists are hired to measure financial performance is that it requires expertise and industry knowledge to glean insight from the data. I don’t know a lot of CEOs who would trust a $9-a-month accounting package to run their companies. So why do PR people jump at new tools like Swix, Social Mention, Reputation Defender, and others that promise measurement for less than the price of lunch at Mcdonald’s?

The reality is that good measurement requires brains and expertise as well as data..


. And it costs money. If you want highly reliable and accurate reporting about anything—PR, social media, marketing, or your financials—you need to make an investment of both time and money. I’m not suggesting you have to break the bank, but realistically, you should be spending 10% of your budget to figure out whether the other 90% is working.

The cheap data = measurement illusion means that too often proper measurement is not a priority. Or just not understood. Too many managers relegate metrics to low level staffers who produce pretty reports on a regular basis. Then, 48 hours before the quarterly or annual Leadership Team meeting, they panic because the reports aren't meaningful to the CEO.

So next time cheapnumbers.com offers you the latest in quick and easy measurement solutions, recognize it for the snake oil that it probably is. --KDP

Katie Delahaye Paine is CEO of KDPaine & Partners, a company that delivers custom research to measure brand image, public relationships, and engagement. Katie Paine is a dynamic and experienced speaker on public relations and social media measurement. Click here for the schedule of Katie’s upcoming speaking engagements.

Comments

@Edw3rd

November 18, 2010

These aren’t measurement companies, they’re nerds playing the VC lottery.
With all the free API’s, and Google, Facebook & Twitter encouraging everyone to bet often, should we be surprised?

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