Why Measurement Is Important

“The things that get measured are the things that get done. Companies measure the stuff they care about.”

Measurement is importantSo simple yet so powerful and so true. This is a quote from a recent episode of the excellent Manager Tools podcast, and it has big implications for communications folks.

Sure, there are a lot of barriers to effective measurement. For one thing, there’s no standard industry-wide way to measure success, especially in social media (yes, I know about CPRS’s MRP but it’s not “standard” yet). For another, there’s the instant pressure to move onto the next project once you’ve executed the last one. Then, on the agency side, there’s the additional cost that the client has to agree to.

Yes, there are barriers galore. I’m sure there are plenty of other factors to overcome. I don’t have the answers to them.

Still, I can’t escape the important implication of the quote:

If we want senior management to take communications seriously, we need to measure our activities.

To those of you out there who are already sold on the importance of measuring what we do, read no further. I don’t need to preach to the choir.

To the rest of you, though, read on.

You’re probably like me – you have a template for your communications plans with a section to plan how you will evaluate your initiative. Maybe you even fill it out. But do you ever do it?

Here’s the thing: other business units do. They evaluate their projects, even if it means finding proxies for what they really want to measure (like complaint numbers as a measure of product quality).

That’s why they have credibility.

That’s why they have a voice at the senior management table.

So, next time you write a communications plan and say something like…

We will evaluate success based on:

  • Amount and tone of media coverage
  • Correspondence received
  • Pick-up of key messages

… or the like, actually do it.

We may not have the perfect methodology, an ideal amount of time to spend, or a huge budget, but we have to start somewhere.

If you don’t care how successful your activities are, how do you expect your CEO to care?

(photo credit: FlickrJunkie)

Dave Fleet
Managing Director and Head of Global Digital Crisis at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.