Who Has Insight?

So who has insights?  Your team does. But are you measuring to find what is hiding in plain sight?  Most companies are not.

The holy grail for most marketing and communications professionals is finding that secret insight that illuminates the “why” behind consumer behavior.

Glacier National Park, MT 2010 Photo by Debra Parcheta

A field of rock in Glacier National Park, MT. yielded some beautiful “insights” on further examination. Can you see what’s hiding in plain sight?

If we know why people prefer or intend to purchase a product, or why certain product benefits cause consumers to choose one brand over another, we can grow our brand.  It’s about market share, competition and creating an iconic brand – one that owns the market and lives forever, right?

To that end, media measurement should be helping us to study what works, improve on it and maximize messages and tactics that consumers respond to well.  So how do we measure to get insights?  It’s easier said than done but start with some simple steps.

  1. Collect data.  What do you want to figure out?  Collect only the data that matters.  Most measurement is done at the “article” level so that we can look at groups of messages over periods of time to compare what works.  We are not just counting.  We need the context of what we were saying when and where.  We might need to collect data about our competitors and across different media channels to see where we fit in the grand scheme of our brand’s market.
  2. Enhance data.  What do you want to figure out? We have to read to see if certain qualities exist.  We can read what other people say and what we put out there.  The act of reading through articles educates us about what consumers are seeing and thinking.  How can we change and improve what they see and know about a brand?  Not everyone is good at doing this sort of thing.  Sometimes we have to train “readers” to enhance the data, but it’s well worth the effort.
  3. Summarize insights.  Even a person who did not read the data can look at comparisons  and start to see patterns and mathematical conclusions about what worked and what didn’t.  They begin to understand messages and evaluate market positioning.  When a  team brainstorms about these findings together, there often emerges an insight or two that can lead to changing the strategy for the brand.  A team becomes more insightful when they behave like a think tank for their brand.

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”― Aristotle

Gather your team to create your insights.  But promise us that you will go one step further – take your newly minted insights and do something to grow the brand.  Yup – we’ve just arrived back at the goal setting and actionable part of a good measurement and communications cycle.

Want to talk more?  Reach out to Debi Parcheta with your questions and comments.

Measure Like a Marketer .. Because You Are One…

8931832451_9720cff219What keeps you from delivering good measurement in a timely way to your Chief Marketing Officer? Or to your client’s marketing organization? 

After all, communications professionals are a specialized part of the marketing team for every brand.  And you are in a position to have early knowledge about trends and strategic opportunities for brands.

Too often, media professionals find themselves catching up with their marketing department.  They weren’t at the table when marketing decisions were made and annual strategies were developed.  And now they are tasked with making a communications plan and executing actions to support what their marketing counterparts thought would work.  Often, there was only a small amount of budget left for what they need to do.

Marketers measure their impacts in dollars and impressions – in ROI and comparative effectiveness.  Marketing activities are very measurable – they buy a quantity of advertising in a certain channel, they see the sales rise when ads are active.  There’s a solid sense of “it worked” (or it didn’t).

Communications professionals market their brands in a different way.  They excel at talking about a brand.  Their purview is key messages and campaign development, starting conversations, building reputation, engagement and brand advocates.  What you know and measure from your activities should be shared with your marketing counterparts to help refine their investments for a brand.  Don’t wait for an invitation.  Get that data to them!

Your marketing team should look to you for these things:

  • Analysis of brand perceptions
  • Insights about key audiences.
  • Creating impressions and awareness.
  • Engaging the target consumer in creative ways.
  • Evaluating consumer intentions.
  • Competitive insights.
  • Creative ideas to communicate widely
  • Knowledge of what has worked in the past.
  • Setting goals for improved communications for the brand.

All of these things can and should be measured.  The trick to measuring is to start BEFORE you communicate.  Set goals and measure against them during and after communication campaigns.  Then tell the story of how things worked in comparison to other marketing tactics.

Some communications professionals find that they are better at measuring than their marketing counterparts, and that’s when they become valuable partners who are not left behind when the next cycle of planning starts.

Are you at the table?







Does the Squeaky Wheel Really Get the Grease?

Photo by https://www.flickr.com/photos/jamiecampbell/

Creative Commons Photo by https://www.flickr.com/photos/jamiecampbell/


How does share of voice get us to business outcomes?

Many communicators believe that their brand should have an active voice in relevant conversations.  And to prove that they were vocal, they produce a lovely pie chart showing their “share of voice.”  Great.  You made some noise.   But can you measure the positive impact from your share of voice on outcomes?  I hope that your boss was not fooled by that pie chart.

Like impressions counting, determining a brand’s share of voice is a metric, not a measurement.   It’s just one indicator of campaign activity.  What we really want to measure is whether or not your participation in the conversation helped you to reach one of your goal outcomes.

Share of voice is a valid metric, but let’s use it appropriately to actually do some measurement.  You’ll have to add qualitative analysis to the share of voice you’ve quantified.  Here’s how:

  • Timing matters.  Ditch the pie chart and track that share of voice over time.  Longitudinal changes in share of voice are revealing.
    • When do your competitors talk?
    • Are you all talking at the same time, or taking turns?
    • Is an obvious timing advantage visible for future exploitation?
  • Messages matter.  Enhance your data with message identification to study what each competitor is saying.  
    • Are you all saying the same thing?
    • Are you delivering your message well?
    • Is there some obvious differentiation that you could exploit for your brand?
  • Organic Sentiment is telling.  A lot of companies are only measuring their own voice, but conversations are 2-sided affairs.   Take off your blinders and also look at organic social media mentions of the brands or topics you are evaluating.
    • Is the audience agreeing with the message you are using?
    • Or is a competitor’s messaging or timing getting more favorable mentions from consumers?
    • Who’s engaging with your voice?
    • Is one type of consumer a more positive advocate for your brand than others?

Now, when you walk into your boss’s or client’s office, you’ll be able to give your expert insights about when to talk, what to talk about and how to boost advocacy and raise sentiment for your brand which in turn should influence outcome goals such as purchase intent, brand sales or brand reputation changes.

And the cycle begins again.  Off you go to make some more noise and leverage your share of voice to impact outcomes.  Keep measuring to see how changes in your share of voice can turn into better outcomes.


Metric – a unit of measurement

Measurement – a system of evaluating metrics to determine how they can change desired outcomes.

Share of Voice – the percentage of published content and conversations about you compared to your competitors.

Measurement Month – An Hour of Learning, Your Gift to You



It’s measurement month and I have a challenge for PR and Marketing Communications professionals.  Re-educate yourself to deliver media measurement well.  

The communications industry is at a crossroads.  So much change.  It’s scary, and many communicators have stopped measuring well.  (Yes, I have data to prove that.)

It’s time to re-educate yourself about media measurement because it’s important to have a seat at the table for budgets and branding and marketing strategy.  We need to raise the standard again.

You want to be the thought leader for your own brand.  Schedule an hour with yourself to further your own education about measuring.  Spend a few minutes investigating different components of media measurement.  Then, emerge with a measurement plan for your brand.

Your Hour

  • (10 minutes)  Do I know the standards for media measurement?  http://amecorg.com/barcelona-principles-2-0-infographic/
  • (10 – 20 minutes)  What are my communications goals for my brand?  (Just one goal will do.) Check out AMEC’s framework for measurement – a template for setting goals and measuring.  http://amecorg.com/social-media-measurement/framework/
  • (5 minutes)  How will I measure the quantity of all the media channels I use with the appropriate daily unique exposures level? (metric: reach/awareness)
  • (10 minutes)  How will I measure the quality of my efforts?  How can I measure the effectiveness of a message or theme? (metric: engagement)
  • (5 minutes)  How will I use quality to improve quantity? (insight)
  • (10 minutes)  How can I give my client/boss/organization realistic, insightful data showing outcomes that achieve brand goals?

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 12.15.20 PMKeep it simple and focused.  And if you work for a team, share what you learned in your hour.  Tell them what you think should be measured, how and why….. because you’re the thought leader, right?

Raising your own standards for measuring lifts you (and your profession) up.

Tell me, how did your hour go?

-Debi Parcheta