Insurance in Plain English

Reaching the next generation of insurance consumers

Posts Tagged ‘roi

Why bother measuring?

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My last post generated a lot of interest, and a lot of agreement that some kind of measurement needs to be in play when talking about the less quantifiable fields of social media and public relations. Nick Brown from InsuranceHQ made a great point noting that,

ROI will always be relevant as long as the social media/PR practitioners are NOT the bosses.

Yup. ROI to justify our very existence. It’s a cold, hard fact, but it is up to the PR and social media professionals to translate their value to management. A practitioner’s intuitive “sixth sense” is not enough.

It provides justification for the very existence of such a department. Communication is often the first area to get cut from the budget, simply because there are no immediately observable effects on sales or profit.

One noted communication scholar, Dr. Geduldig, paints the picture,

A hard-nosed manager would have a tough job evaluating a function that cannot be defined and can do well when it does nothing … Don’t expect others to buy public relations on faith. If public relations doesn’t set standards of measurement that are both objective and meaningful, management will apply its own, and the value of public relations will ultimately be measured against the bottom line.

Proving your worth is no longer as simple as showing evidence of volume or claiming public relations, social media and reputation evaluation to be intangible and not subject to measure—managers are demanding quantifiable results of practitioners

Ah, but measurement does actually have a greater, nobler purpose than securing our paychecks (though that in itself isn’t too bad). It helps determine whether or not we are meeting the objectives we’ve set for our communicative efforts. Is social media helping our agency? Is our public relations campaign effective? How can we do better? You can’t attack these questions without having some sort of measurement and evaluation program in place.

So what do you think—why should we be measuring our public relations and social media efforts?

Written by melissa

June 1, 2010 at 9:00 am

ROI: Ridiculous, obsolete idea?

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Shame on me. It’s been a week. I blame a lot of things, not the least of which was the shock associated with the LOST series finale.

This interview of Ryan Hanley (a fellow resident of beautiful Albany), conducted by Peter van Aartrijk and Rick Morgan, got me thinking about one of the topics du jour in social media, the search for return on investment.

According to Ryan,

Everyone says, well, what’s your ROI? At this point in the social media movement, to try to slap ROI on it and make a business decision is going to be tough to do. Because it’s hard to calculate.

Don’t I know it! How can I provide quantified, tangible results explaining how valuable my organization’s Twitter accounts are? How can I create a correlation between our LinkedIn groups and sales? How do I explain that no, I’m not just fooling around on the ‘net, I’m actually building relationships? It’s not easy. Heck, it’s pretty close to impossible.

Well, all this talk about ROI made me nostalgic. For the past six months, I’ve been immersed in my (finally completed) master’s thesis, AKA the bane of my existence, which focused on measurement in an area equally as intangible as social media, public relations. Think about it: How do you measure reputation? How do you measure client perception?  Same issue.

A bit of self-plagiarism, and the complication of measurement is clear,

With sales, one can measure end-of-year figures against a set of objectives at the beginning of the year. But public relations is much more nebulous; how can you measure the goal of increased visibility and awareness? How can you track all the instances that a consumer recalled your brand as a result of some positive press he or she read in the local newspaper? Such black-and-white, A-to-B type measurement is not just impractical, but also, nearly impossible to conduct in this field.

While my very own words seem to echo the advice of those who say we need to look past ROI, I don’t completely agree. Measurement is still important.  It helps to determine if our efforts were effective and to decide which strategies to keep, which to trash. It makes us more reflective, and, ultimately, better practitioners. As one scholar put it, “You can only manage what you measure.” But, I do think that today’s measurement techniques need to be different than what we’ve relied on in the past.

So what do you think? Is the concept of ROI in public relations and social media as outdated as the betamax?

Coming soon … well, smarty pants, how DO we measure reputation? Stay tuned …

Written by melissa

May 27, 2010 at 3:31 pm