Webinar Recap: Data Without Context Is Meaningless in Communications and PR Measurement

December 2, 2020By Craig NoldenAMEC, Burrelles, Communications, Media Measurement, Media Monitoring, Public Relations, Technology No Comments

Burrelles recently sponsored a free webinar as part of AMEC Measurement Month. Titled “Data Without Context Is Meaningless,” it covered a range of topics relevant to anyone interested in getting the most out of their measurement efforts. (link to playback here).

Our guest presenter was the North American AMEC Chair, and Senior Vice President of Analytics at Ketchum, Nicole Moreo. At Ketchum, she leads a team of analysts across sectors that employ the latest ideas in digital, statistical, analytical and market research. Nicole is known for moving beyond the basics to uncover truly innovative analytics approaches, which she proved in this informative webinar.

Regarding data in today’s world, Nicole said “we all see new technologies all the time, we all see new approaches, and a lot of times they’re very pretty but they don’t necessarily bring a lot of meaning.”

This led to a fascinating discussion on:

The Barcelona Principles 3.0
In setting up her presentation on these principles, Nicole commented “if you set yourself up for success, context isn’t as difficult, or you don’t need to run statistical models to get it, you don’t need all the tools to make it work. We just need to be thinking about how we can really be setting ourselves up from the beginning.”

To set the context, Nicole began by detailing the Barcelona Principles 3.0. This demonstrated how each one of them forces us to step back and ask the following questions:

  • Do we have our goals?
  • Have we thought beyond quantitative metrics?
  • Have we thought about all the audiences we might touch across the journey?
  • Have we thought about moving beyond numbers like AVEs?
  • Have we thought of the big picture?

Aligning on Measurement
Another segment that I found extremely valuable was when Nicole did a deep dive into how measurement typically falls into one of two buckets:

#1: counting or documenting results of a campaign.

#2: producing knowledge and insights that support real time optimizations, future strategy and creative executions.

“We all want to be in #2. If measurement is just a report at the end, you can’t learn from it” Nicole stated. To do that, she stressed the importance of two steps:

First: don’t fall for vanity metrics! They are important, but they are the beginning of the story. Move beyond simple quantitative metrics to those that start from a place of storytelling, context and planning.

Second: think differently from the very beginning as it relates to:

  • Goals – your business and communication goals need to tie back
  • Audience – who they are and what are all their touch points with our brand?
  • Context – go beyond the numbers
  • Optimization – what can we learn moving forward?
  • Storytelling – Can you answer “so what?” Think through each storyline.

As communicators, these steps help us with our goals of reaching the right people, via the right channels, with the right messages and at the right time. There are data points for each of these. Each one of these provides context to the report that you’re doing.

So, if you need to prove if you reached the right people, did you reach them on the channels that they exist, and how did each channel perform? Which message worked, which one seems to be driving awareness, perception change or whatever your goal might be. And did it happen at the right time? It’s really crucial as communicators that we think about each of these. And do we have data that can help explain each one of them?

Defining context in the measurement world
When Nicole talks about context, she groups it into three important segments:

Audience: not just who they are, but what can we learn from them? The audience is constantly changing and evolving. Think about the entire journey the audience is going on in their path to passion and purchase.

Category: what’s going on in the landscape, what’s going on with our competitors, what’s going on that might impact what we’re doing?

Culture: gives you the insight into the “why?” Using tools or surveys, digging into comments to get to the bottom of what is going on to determine next steps. Spend a little more time with the media, what got really high engagement?

To close out this engaging webinar, Nicole commented about what you can do to bring context to your planning, optimizing and reporting. They included:

  • Learn as much as you can about your target audience(s) and how they intersect with your industry/brand.
  • Dive into your category. What key topics/issues exist, where do your competitors play, what is the white space and what intersects with your value proposition?
  • Understand the cultural elements that are driving engagement and how they impact your audience, category and brand.

Personally, I learned so many valuable tips watching this webinar. I highly encourage you to watch and listen to the whole playback of this presentation and Q&A. What I’ve written above is just a brief recap of some of the information you’ll learn. Nicole also provided interesting real-world examples and case studies that I did not cover in this blog post. Check it out, I think you’ll agree it’s packed with useful tips and information that you’ll be able to utilize in your job.

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