Evaluation and Return on Investment (ROI) are two terms that have been used by PR professionals for decades now to demonstrate the value of what we do for our clients.
Whilst there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach to evaluation, in years gone by, this used to simply be about measuring the number of press cuttings achieved and what the advertising value equivalent (AVE) was of that coverage to give a client their ROI. In some cases, savvier PRO’s might also have included the delivery of key messages and any other KPI’s agreed with the client to add value to the service they were providing.
However, the impact of the economic crisis and the subsequent tightening of marketing and PR budgets has led to much more scrutiny about the role that PR can play in helping a business meet its commercial objectives.
The result of this has changed the face of PR evaluation. No longer are AVE figures and PR values enough, our industry is being challenged to demonstrate the impact that PR can have on sales leads and enquiries, website traffic through Google analytics, number of likes and followers on social media channels, engagement, share of voice and favourability of coverage for example.
Whilst this might be more time intensive, plus the fact that the majority of clients are not prepared to pay for it, it can only be good news for our industry.
There’s no doubt in our mind that most CEO’s, MD’s and Marketing Director’s that are at the coal face of a brand’s reputation still see the value of PR. Proving this and ensuring it is communicated to board level not only protects our profession, but also shows how accountable we are and how important our discipline is in the marketing mix, particularly as the economy continues to contract.