PRovoke18: ‘The PR Industry is Facing its Moneyball Moment’, but AI is Not the Key

Karen Megarbane, Marketing Campaign Manager, PublicRelay

Selling the value of PR is difficult in this day and age where digital and social media marketing reign supreme and PR teams and their firms are increasingly reporting to CMO’s that understand less and less the power of third-party validation and the media. The result: agencies must show value more than ever before.

The problem is with the rise of digital advertising, it’s many KPIs and metrics, and a lack of a formal set of PR measurement standards. It is difficult to know what metrics to track and report, not to mention how to track them. That’s why so many PR practitioners are still tempted to use AVE’s. Even though they are commonly viewed as incorrect standards, at least they are consistent.

Furthermore, agencies and their customers blindly become too reliant on technology which delivers analytics that are not 100% accurate, let alone valuable.

These were two of the key topics brought up at the Holmes PRovoke18 Global PR Summit during a session moderated by Michael Murphy from Michael Murphy Ltd. and featuring speakers: Brands2life Founder Giles Fraser, Strategic Partners Group Founder Aman Gupta, JPA Health Communications Founder Carrie Jones and Rockland Dutton Research CEO, Dr. David Rockland.

Rockland Dutton Research partner/CEO David Rockland told the conference that AI should not be viewed as the future of PR measurement. While it might help, “It’s up to humans,” he added.

The PR Industry is Facing its Moneyball Moment’, but AI is Not the KeySo what is the state of PR analytics in the communications community? According to Giles Fraser it is undergoing a “Moneyball Moment.”

Firms should not be discouraged or overwhelmed by data and the plethora of tools/ techniques to measure this data. He added that, “my feeling is there has never been a greater opportunity for us to deliver value to our clients in terms of the range of outcomes we can provide.” “We have the potential to deliver lots of outcomes, but we don’t necessarily have the resources to monitor all of those. So, we must be selective. We can say we know what good looks like and we can benchmark it.”

So what does “good” look like? Our take here at PublicRelay is that while measurement programs must always be tailored on a client by client basis, PR practitioners and their agencies across every industry are tasked with the most important function: protecting a brand’s reputation and growing its brand value.

That’s why when faced with pressure to demonstrate worth, PR practitioners must keep one thing in mind: an effective reputation management strategy starts with identifying your key brand drivers and demonstrating your impact on them consistently over time. As our CEO Eric Koefoot said in a presentation at the PRSA 2018 International Conference, “reputation is core to the profession”.

To read more about the Provoke18 Conference and the panel on Demonstrating Value to Clients in An Integrated World click here.

About the Author: With background in both corporate and non-profit digital communications and marketing, Karen Megarbane currently serves as PublicRelay’s marketing campaign manager. She holds BSBA in International Business from American University and an MIPS in PR and Communications from Georgetown University.


1 Comment

  1. Andrea Phillips on November 16, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    I teach PR at a university, and just this week in PR Principles class we discussed the importance of measuring outcomes rather than outputs and the many reasons why measuring outcomes is particularly difficult for PR. I’m sharing this with my students as a real-world example of measurement discussions that are happening in the field (and to prove that I don’t just make this stuff up!).