Data is a word that won’t be going away anytime soon. In fact, it’s more than a nice to have when it comes to marketing and PR. It’s a tool most clients expect you to use and many can’t imagine succeeding without but what about you, as a PR pro, how do you feel about data?
Do you understand how to use it?
Why you need to use it?
How it can help you succeed?
It can be a tad overwhelming when you first use data. And when we become overwhelmed by things we often put up barriers that keep us from using the product to its full potential, which can be a huge setback. Just like marketers, PR professionals are expected to use data when it comes to decision making, evaluating results and communicating success. It’s not a tool you can really fake it with or put off using. Now’s the time to roll up your sleeve, break down those barriers and dig into data!
Below are three ways you might be holding yourself back from using data!
1.From Intimidation To Clarification
There is a lot of talk when it comes to data.
- BIG data
Not to mention the people who spend their days analyzing data basically speak their own language. Not the warmest welcoming and this often leads to PR pros standing on the sidelines and saying “let the analysts look at it” but the truth is you should know how to analyze is too. Don’t let this new lingo taking over the communication world to bog you down.
The good news is you don’t have to be an analyst to understand or use data, but it is going to take time on your part to know it. We understand you didn’t get into PR for your love of math, but you did get into PR because of the ever-changing environment, problem-solving and daily challenges, and with data you can do those three things better.
2. Noise Turns Into Strategy
As a PR pro, you have probably experienced many days where you wished you knew more about your audience or the results of the campaign, and now you might be wishing you hadn’t wished for so much. There is more data today than ever before and just figuring out what is worth spending your time on can take a lot of time. Every data source has its own agenda, its own problem it is trying to solve for, and the results always vary. It time for you to take a step back and evaluate the sources you have and think about these three things:
Does it help you ask the right questions?
Does it identify strengths and weaknesses?
Does it move you in the right direction?
When you have the right sources, data can be the driving source of your vision and decision making. Yes, that means you know longer have to go with that feeling or use your gut. Data gives you something to fall back to when someone asks why you did that. Once you understand what data you need to use and how to use it, data can help clarify where you should take your client and what you should do next. The strategies you come up with by using data will be some of your strongest yet!
3. Metrics Do More Than Prove ROI
There is an intimidation piece that comes with data, almost big brother feeling.
Well, now everyone will know exactly how I am doing…
But ROI is not everything. And that is something PR pros know but may need to help others understand. Of course measuring results, setting metrics to hit and proving ROI are crucial elements to any campaign but data can do a lot more than that.
When you are new to using data, it is easy to get caught up in that stuff, but you have to move past metrics. If you are only using data to explain if your campaign worked or not then you might find yourself starting to use numbers that always make you look good. Those vanity metrics that are somehow always in the positive range and meeting your customer’s expectations no matter what. Yeah, that is not the best way to use data.
One way to use data beyond measurement expectations is to look at data in a holistic sense. Take every source you have, put it all in one place, and see what your data is telling you, together. A lot of times we look at sources, piece by piece and don’t take the time to compare what is going on throughout our brand’s story. As PR pros, you have to have a pulse on what is happening everywhere, and data lets you do that. If you can step away from proving ROI and step back so you can see how every individual component can impact one another across data streams that will prove to be just as important as ROI.
Wrap It Up
Have you ever found yourself in one or all three situations?
Sometimes it’s our fear of new things…
Or we get told over and over again how important ROI is…
Or maybe you don’t know where to start because so much is coming at you?
There is nothing easy about data, but it can make your job a lot more impactful. Don’t let these barriers hold you back from making an impact with data. Follow this guide, and we know this will affect your results- it’s in the data 😉
Want some free help when it comes to understanding and using measurement? Then download our FREE (and super helpful) e-book, Measurement In Action, here.