My Get-Rich-Quick Scheme
I’ve come up with an idea to put my retirement plans into overdrive. I’m simply going to start collecting a nickel each time I have to defend PR’s ability to develop programs grounded in business strategy…as well as each time we’re denied a research budget or even access to existing data and analysis.
PR colleagues will already be groaning collectively. Sure, everyone’s talking about the value of ‘big data’ and integration, but a silo mentality still persists when it comes to who gets the dollars for customer, brand and market research. Generally, it’s not the PR department or agency – and that’s a mistake.
The 20/80 rule applies to many things, including audience targeting. Most companies don’t have bottomless communications budgets, so segmenting customers by attitudes, behavior, etc. is invaluable. Facts, not fiction, help everyone agree on the most effective strategy for connecting with the groups that are most likely to buy your stuff or use your services (or target those that aren’t yet a fan of yours).
Ad agencies wouldn’t think of offering up a strategy without the right pre-campaign research (including creative testing). Why is PR still frequently tasked with developing programs based on guesswork?
Fortunately, the ability to understand who’s talking about you, where the conversation is taking place, what commonalities these individuals share and how they perceive your competitors is getting easier to come by, thanks to online analytics and measurement tools. What used to take months can now be achieved in hours (10 to be specific, for a Social Media Snapshot that gives us a good overview of a year’s worth of data).
To paraphrase Jerry Maguire: “Help us help you!” Give your PR team the data (or the budget to get it), share existing analysis, and, just as importantly, build in lead time so we can think proactively, not reactively.
And about all that theoretical money I’ve been collecting – I’m not ready to retire quite yet.
Photo courtesy of Mike Burns on Flickr.