Look for 2008 to be a year of increasing accountability for the public relations profession. Add in the very real possibility of an economic recession and, more than ever, the pressure will be on to prove the value of public relations.
1. Focus on efforts to measure the influence of blogs, social media and other online properties
There is a high level of agreement that blogs, discussion groups, social media and other online properties are shaping the way consumers learn and think about products and brands. First generation attempts to measure their influence on consumers have been done using predominately traditional media metrics like Impressions. In 2008 expect to see a stronger push toward specialized metrics to measure online engagement/dialogue rather than just exposure.
2. Ongoing shift of PR measurement budgets towards Outcomes rather than Outputs
Historically the majority of public relations dollars have been spent measuring Outputs (Exposure) rather than Outcomes (Influence and Action). Studies suggest the split has been perhaps 60%/40%. Expect 2008 to be the first year where the split is closer to 50%/50%.
3. Renewed efforts by content providers to reconcile copyright issues
Many of you may have recently received a letter from Burrelles/Luce notifying you as of April 2008 they will be adding copyright royalty fees automatically on behalf of content owners based on the average numbers of copies of print or electronic clips distributed. Expect other content aggregators to follow suit in 2008.
4. Increased use of Marketing Mix Modeling for ROI determination
Procter and Gamble’s proactive outreach about their Marketing Mix Modeling (MMM) project (read more here) sparked a lot of industry debate in 2007 (and we suspect projects for modeling vendors). The new Da Vinci agency being formed for Dell has already stated their ambition to combine art and science to tie marketing activities directly to business outcomes like sales and market share. Look for MMM to be part of the science used by Da Vinci and for it to become mainstreamed in 2008.
5. Additional efforts to find a ‘single metric’ measurement solution
For many in public relations measurement the Holy Grail is a single, powerful metric of success. Microsoft took this approach with their ambitious measurement system development project last year as did the Canadian Public Relations Society (read more here)before them. Perhaps Da Vinci will also be seduced by the allure of the single metric.