October 21, 2016

Helping PR pros make smarter decisions

Planning and Budgeting for Measurement in 2017

Planning and Budgeting for Measurement in 2017

By now, companies are in full swing in their planning and budgeting processes for 2017. This makes it a great time to tackle the same sort of looking forward for your measurement plans.

Much of what is being discussed and finalized right now are the business goals and objectives, and as we’ve outlined previously, this is exactly the right foundation for measurement. Unfortunately a lot of the time PR is provided a budget and then is asked to fit measurement into the budget, instead of the other way around.

The most effective way to measure is to look at business goals and see what the best way is to measure those accurately, and then figure out how much will need to be budgeted. Doing it the reverse way (budget first) can lead to overspending on the wrong tools, or directing resources to methods of measurement that won’t answer the question: “are we meeting our goals?”

  • First, take a look at the measurement efforts conducted during the past year. Were there any gaps that need to be filled? What measurements contributed most to discussions, and which ones are required to have year-over-year data consistency? Make a list of these.
  • Pull out the AMEC measurement framework and look it over for ideas on what kinds of measurement efforts could be deployed. Spend some time looking back over the past year to see where additional measurement could have fit into your PR activities—this will give you solid ideas to work into your 2017 planning, and give you concrete examples of where measurement efforts can be improved.
  • Talk to departments and leadership who are directly connected to business goals for 2017. If a business objective is to increase leads by 15 percent, talk to marketing and whoever is responsible for the website. Work with them to figure out ways in which to track leads that originate from PR efforts.
  • Make note of target dates on the fiscal calendar that you will be reporting against—whether this means monthly or quarterly reporting, or any other key dates like board meetings—and make sure that time is built in to do the actual analysis beforehand. One of the main reasons that metrics like AVEs have had such staying power is that they are quick and easy. Real metrics take time, so build it in to your planning now.
  • Budget accordingly. If you aren’t able to get all of your measurement budgeting met in the first year, don’t despair. Make sure you have identified the best metrics that will yield the most information that tie back to business goals, and be ready to explain how and why these should be funded. Once a track record is established, additional measurement work and the commensurate funding will be easier to defend come budget time.

The planning and budgeting process for the coming year sneaks up on all of us, it seems. Taking the time to do it now and identifying where the most important and effective measurement items are will go a long way in making 2017 a good year for your PR measurement efforts.

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About The Author

Jennifer Zingsheim Phillips is the founder of 4L Strategies, and has worked in communications and public affairs for just over 20 years. Her background includes work in politics, government, lobbying, public affairs PR work, content creation, and digital and social communications and media analysis.

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