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Why Measure Your Communications?

by Rick Alcantara

My business coach tells his clients to test and measure virtually every aspect of their operations. Communications is no exception.

By measuring your marketing efforts you can determine where and how you should spend your communications dollars.

Once you have defined your communication objectives you can use research to determine your direction, monitor your progress and evaluate your success.

Preliminary research will help you identify the parameters of your communications efforts. For example:

• Who are you trying to reach?
• What are you trying to say?
• What do you want people to know, learn, think or do?
• How do you want people to interact with your organization?
• Does the audience trust you?
• What does the audience already know about your organization?
• What communication channels do the audiences use and trust?
• What could prevent the audience from receiving or acting upon the information?

As your program progresses, you’ll want to ensure that your efforts are on track. So, you may want to measure the following:

• Are we reaching the intended audience?
• Is our campaign on schedule and on budget?
• Are we seeing a change in audience knowledge, attitude or behavior?
• Is anything hindering our efforts?
• Monitoring research enables you to make mid-course corrections as needed.

Finally, as the campaign winds down, you’ll want to measure the return on your investment. You should ask lots of questions at this point. For example:

• To what degree did we increase leads, sales, donations, program attendance, etc.?
• Did we complete the campaign on time and on budget?
• What would we do the same or change next time?
• Did we use the right message and channel?
• Did we reach the right audiences?
• How has perception of the organization or its products/services changed since the campaign began?

Communications without measurement is like soccer without a net. You can kick the ball all day, but you won’t score without a net. So, before you begin your run to the goal, visualize the target, determine the right path and know what you want to accomplish when you get there.

Rick Alcantara is founder and principal of Tara Communications LLC, a strategic public relations, marketing and Internet firm that helps organizations plan, implement and measure their communications. For more information visit www.tarapr.com. To follow Rick on Twitter, link to @jerseycoach.

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John Ressler

Good post. It is too easy to push out communications without the necessary planning and thinking.- agree that it is key to focus on the reaction of the audience. You may have reached a lot of people but if they were repulsed by your message that is not a good thing.