Embracing change – should a new year mean a new measurement partner?

For most PR leaders, December and January presents an opportunity to look back and to plan ahead. End of year evaluation meetings or planning sessions are a chance to analyse the impact that campaigns have had and how activity has influenced business objectives. 

There are lots of questions we ask ourselves. What worked well? And not so well? What should we do in the year ahead? How do we reach the right people and what messages do we need to convey? And crucially – do we have the right partners in place to meet our new objectives? But when it comes to providers, particularly monitoring and measurement partners, too often businesses choose to stick with ‘the devil they know’ – shying away from change, or being tied into contracts without regularly revisiting and reviewing them

Some are hesitant to change because they’ve been burned before. When we speak with PR teams, we often hear about providers promising a lot, but not delivering – particularly those who rely heavily on technology for a low price point. Teams have come to realise that technology alone cannot provide the same level of nuanced analysis and useful insights of humans (indeed, our recommendation to all of our clients is to use a blended approach of machine and human, or as we like to call it, automation and curation). We also know that businesses’ needs are fast changing, and that they are often presented with inflexible solutions which can’t scale and grow alongside them.

So, if media measurement isn’t always working, what makes people resist change?

Hesitation partly comes because if companies have been burned once, naturally they don’t want to be burned again – but primarily it’s because change is complex. We know that when you change providers there are many moving parts – from the time it takes to get a new system up and running, to getting buy in from senior stakeholders, to ensuring that teams know how to use the tools and get the best out of them.

But change doesn’t have to be difficult. Often, the fear of a protracted and difficult process is unfounded – and instead the process can be smooth and rewarding if led by an experienced team who are able to help with implementation and onboarding. In addition to onboarding plans, CARMA provides additional consultancy and support to new clients who are moving away from an existing measurement programme. This includes tailored presentations to senior stakeholders, formalised plans for transitioning from outdated metrics to improved ones, unlimited regional team training, and workshops with external agencies or collaborating teams.

Crucial too, is ongoing support. The best providers offer consultancy and help after implementation, helping clients get the most from their tools as their needs evolve and grow.

Of course, the rewards for getting this right can be great. We know that better media monitoring leads to actionable insight, which helps you to better manage your reputation and respond to crisis situations, elevate your brand with key opinion leaders, and better know your industry and competitors.

So if you’re not getting everything you want from your provider, the new year can present a good juncture to consider a change. Indeed, when the fear of change is alleviated, PR leaders can concentrate on the road ahead – delivering on their plans and objectives. 

To make change smooth and manageable, and to make sure you’re getting the right solution for you, take a look at our checklist of what you should look for in a partner.

Having spent over a decade in the media industry, Alison Williams has become a trusted consultant to global brands, designing multi-market measurement programs for communications teams across traditional, digital and social media. At Carma, she manages a team of experienced consultants in the UK and USA, ensuring the delivery of measurement programs which are flexible, actionable, and industry-leading. On the weekends, Alison keeps busy running after her toddler, experimenting in the kitchen, exploring London on her bike and planning her post-lockdown travels.

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