Saturday, September 3, 2011

Bigger picture: measuring what matters

Many of us who have interest in public relations measurement and evaluation have been talking in the past year about "measuring what matters." This comes from a realization that the new algorithms and monitoring technologies make it possible to identify, select, and count many actions and features of the communications ecosystem -- coupled with a second realization that just because you can count something doesn't mean that it has significance or meaning. (Baseball metaphor: you can count how many times the pitcher pitches the ball during the course of game. That count is meaningless without factoring in significance: how many of the pitches were strikes, balls, hits, etc.)

Hotelier Chip Conley spoke last year at a TED Talks about counting what's worthwhile. His frame of reference is much bigger than measurement and evaluation of communications, but his talk forces the same kind of re-consideration of purpose in the "measuring what matters" discussion.