— CIPR Cymru (@CIPR_Cymru) June 30, 2015
This morning I was at a CIPR event in Cardiff, where Ali Goldsworthy, Head of Supporter Strategy and Engagement at the consumer group Which?, gave an insightful talk on running campaigns. What came though – along with the passion she very clearly had – was the importance of using digital tools to increase performance in an ongoing fashion.
Pretty much everyone says evaluation is important, but in my view the first reason for doing it is not to prove to prove that you’re doing a good job. It is actually to test out tweaks and raise performance. At Which?, they test constantly what they’re doing to see, for example, not just whether particular campaigns bring in good numbers of supporters, but to see how engaged those supporters are over time. And they change how they allocate their resources accordingly. For example, they find Facebook delivers better results for them than Twitter – something they might not realise if they weren’t evaluating properly.
While direct marketers have always taken evaluation seriously, good evaluation isn’t universal in the PR world. But there have been some great strides in recent years. The Barcelona Principles highlighted the problems with AVEs and signposted practitioners towards best practice. And there is a fantastic book, Evaluating Public Relations, by Tom Watson and Paul Noble – something I personally use as a resource. I can recommend it highly.