Effective Measurement: It’s just a matter of time

Credit: istockphoto.com/Jacob Ammentorp Lund

Credit: istockphoto.com/Jacob Ammentorp Lund

“How much time should our team spend measuring communication?” A perfectly good question, but not one for which I had an immediate answer. How long is a piece of string? I thought, but that was just ducking the issue.

The question of “how much time” is symptomatic of a wider challenge: The need for communication practitioners to define what they need and expect from measurement—in the specific context of their organization. The tangible benefits to the communication team, to employees and to the business. Making the best use of available data. The need to provide leaders with insights that are really important to them. Demonstrating the value communication adds to business performance. Only then is it reasonable to put a figure on how much time and whether the end justifies the means.

What measurement can do for your organization

Defining expectations requires clarity on why we should measure communication in the first place. And that means going beyond simply logging which articles are most viewed and how many people attended the presentation. It means focusing instead on outcomes and insights, and aligning measures so they fully inform and support communication objectives. It’s a fundamental shift—one that takes measurement from a tactical, after-the-event activity, to a source of strategic value.

Of course, much has been written about this topic already, and I’m sure few would argue with the change in sentiment or emphasis. But what does it mean in reality? An informal survey of the practitioners and teams who do this well provides a snapshot of the upside and the benefits of getting it right: Measurement allows us to assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of our internal communication. Using data and insight, we know where to prioritize our efforts. We see more clearly where there are gaps and know the areas that are likely to give us the best return on our limited resources. Regular feedback means we stay in tune with the views and sentiment of people—understanding their needs, characteristics and motivations. All of which allows us to better plan and deliver our campaigns and quantify to leaders the contribution communication is making to business performance.

Read the full article in Communication World