Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Measurement Matters

Sam Whitmore of MediaSurvey, who has his finger squarely on the pulse of the PR industry, discusses our LeadSensor methodology (below). Gosh, I'm starting to think people are finally understanding the unique value we provide to the marketing department! Let's see... which would most companies prefer, lots of clips or lots of lucrative sales?

Any reason they can't have both? Methinks it won't belong before the PR industry in general learns the meaning of true accountability. But let's see what Sam has to say:

"Mirapoint CMO Bethany Mayer is a measurer. She tracks how she spends every dollar -- even on public relations services. That's a big reason why, she says, SHIFT Communications gets her business -- just as it did when Mayer served as Vernier Networks' VP of marketing.

SHIFT's LeadSensor service "helps me justify money for programs because if a program does well from a lead-conversion perspective, I get more budget for that program," Mayer says.

Lead Sensor is "a consultative process" that "tweaks a company's web site capture form, call scripts, CRM and analytics packages," says SHIFT sales and marketing director Parry Headrick. This enables companies such as Mirapoint to gauge the origin of all sales leads -- including those from PR, Headrick says. Mayer analyzes her stats using pie charts created by software.

According to SHIFT's web site, LeadSensor is deployed in a one-time consulting project that typically takes about 20 hours over two to three weeks. When completed, the templates can monitor the:

* Number of raw leads per marketing program
* Number of qualified leads per marketing program
* Number and revenue value of closed deals, per marketing program
* Retention rate of existing customers, tagged by lead source

Says Mayer: "[SHIFT] figured this thing out, and I'm really pleased."

SHIFT is not the first PR agency to discover that PR can and should be measured as a source of sales leads. Horn Group CEO Sabrina Horn wrote this piece three years ago on the topic. Independent consultants such as Katie Paine have been linking PR with sales for a decade.

Yet, at most agencies, it's still all about the "hit". Check out this page from SparkSource Inc.'s web site. Then consider this from Schwartz PR: "Our clients ask us to do many things. Establish corporate positioning. Launch products. Develop executives into expert media sources. De-position competitors. Manage crisis communications. Raise issue awareness. And much more."

To most PR agencies, "measurement" refers to how much coverage they produce for the client. Hoping to tap this opportunity, PR Newswire this week launched MediaSense, a subscription-based service that helps agencies measure their coverage. Some of the larger agencies, such as Text 100, already offer in-house measurement services.

Historically, at least, making the cash register ring is generally considered the client's responsibility. Time will tell whether the Bethany Mayers of the world will raise the bar."


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December 15, 2005  

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