Anyone who has heard me speak has heard about the So What Rule Of Measurement. It states that whenever you're presented with results—and especially if they are in the form of a flashy chart—you have to ask “So What?” three times.
Suppose your agency comes in with a pretty pie chart that shows you got 20 trillion YouTube views. “So what?” What do 20 trillion impressions get you?
I recently asked a social media manager why he tweeted. He told me it was, “To get followers.”
“So what?” I asked.
“To get coverage in the media,” he replied. I suggested that I tattoo his company logo on my bottom and run naked through his city. He could alert the media and thereby generate far more coverage than 1,000 of his tweets.
So what? Would he end up with more customers? Would they be the right customers? Probably not.
Yes, everyone needs more customers, but they need profitable customers that fit within the scope of their business strategy. His tweets, on the other hand, were attracting adolescent girls who followed him because he’s a hunk. (A total hunk, let me tell you.)
I hate to break the bad news to Ragan and Nasdaq (who are proud of their recent and very useful survey of PR pros), but the single biggest problem with PR measurement is not a lack of standards, but a lack of PR professionals asking “So what?”
Far too many PR practitioners (and social media pros as well) simply take it as a given that their purpose in life is “to get coverage.” Or worse, “the front page of The New York Times.” They never stop to question whether all the coverage in the world will solve the problem that their company needs to solve. Suppose they do get coverage in The New York Times and the calls come in, is there a system in place to manage the leads? What if there’s no call to action, and thus no action at all?
There was once a time a while back when I was having relationship problems and whinging to my roommate about some slight that my ex or current or whatever had inflicted. And my no-nonsense roommate looked me in the eye and told me to “...put my big-girl panties on and deal with it: Remember, the goal is not the boy, it’s happiness.”
It’s time that PR pros put their big-girl and -boy pants on and remember that the goal is to get the business done, whether it is changing the world, changing minds, or changing the bottom line.
(Thanks to freejazzlessons.com for the image.)
Katie Delahaye Paine is Chairman, KDPaine & Partners, (a Salience Insight company), and Chief Marketing Officer of News Group International. KDP&P 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. Katie and Beth Kanter are authors of the book “Measuring the Networked Nonprofit,” to be published this year by Wiley.
The Measurement Standard is a publication of KDPaine & Partners, a company that delivers custom research to measure brand image, public relationships, and engagement. Katie Paine, Chairman of KDPaine & Partners, will be glad to talk with you about measurement for your organization.