Effective Measurement: ARe we there yet?

IIAR laptop and post itsEffective measurement has become a bit of a challenge for AR practitioners, as stakeholders are demanding more tangible, immediate results that can easily be linked to business outcomes. With smaller teams and tighter budgets, AR professionals are under immense pressure to justify investment and prove overall value.

As such, the IIAR’s recent webinar on measurement and amplification, led by Oracle’s Gerry Van Zandt (LinkedIn@gerryvz), couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve included below my key takeaways from the webcast as well as Gerry’s advice for anyone looking for help or inspiration around efficient AR measurement.

A major hurdle that I keep seeing, especially in organisations that don’t yet have mature AR programmes, is the inability to set AR-relevant objectives. Too many organisations still try and measure AR in the same way as PR and get massively frustrated by the meatier up-front investment and absence of immediate results.

Mirroring Gerry’s thoughts and adding some of my own, the best ways to overcome AR measurement issues is to:

  • Ensure that stakeholders have a good understanding of AR, its role and what it can deliver to the business.
  • Challenge the misconception that PR and AR should be measured with the same yardstick and by using the same methods.
  • Be clear about your AR objectives from the start and think about what you want and can achieve in the set timeframe.

To give you an idea of how to start thinking about your AR objectives, Gerry flagged topics such as:

  • Improving external perceptions about your products or services.
  • Rekindling/fixing past dormant or broken analyst relationships.
  • Arming the PR team with analyst materials such as quotes and citations.
  • Ensuring that the Sales team is well-aware of, and armed with, analyst evaluations.
  • Positioning your firm ahead of the competition.

Once AR objectives are defined correctly, measurement can be aligned appropriately and in a manner that delivers value and increases AR advocacy internally. Of course this is not the first time that the IIAR has led the discussion about, and contributed to the pool of knowledge around effective measurement. The AR Compass, a framework that helps professionals set relevant business goals and align their AR programme to those goals has been a valuable resource to me along my career. It’s one of the fundamental pieces on AR measurement that has stood the test of time and tech – definitely a recommended read, especially for professionals at the beginning of their careers in analyst relations.

There are many ways in which AR can be effectively measured. During the webinar a few ideas (or indicators) were discussed by AR professionals which include:

  • Tonality: measuring analyst sentiment about your company in relation to competitors, and can be filtered by types of reports, segments etc.
  • Visibility: inclusion in relevant analyst reports, analyst level of knowledge about your company.
  • Sentiment: tracks and measures analysts’ opinions about your company and it’s where you can benchmark to track and demonstrate shifts in perception.

It’s also important to remember that achieving AR results is one thing but making them resonate more widely is quite another. There are a few ways to amplifying AR value:

  • By sharing your results, positive or negative, in a productive manner.
  • By packaging up reports/analyst insight in a simple way that resonates with relevant teams.
  • By making sure that the right people are receiving the analyst information and know how to gain access to these resources.
  • By tracking amplification, considering aspects such as the amount of information that was used, which prospects/customers received the information and how many sales conversations leveraged the information.

Undoubtedly, the biggest takeaway for me is the importance of defining and updating measurement tactics that enhance the value of AR. Creating an internal resource that can help teams achieve their own goals is another equally important element of AR success. Measuring and benchmarking your programme and amplifying AR results in a meaningful way, will help you to gain internal AR advocates.

Now more than ever, AR professionals should assess and update their measurement tactics and start with “why” (not the book, but the question), while also thinking about the “how”: Why does a result matter? and How can you amplify that result?

By Julia Pope (LinkedIn, @juliap_boulton) / Analyst Relations Manager at Spryker Systems & IIAR> UK Chapter Co-Lead

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