Overcoming the barriers to IC measurement – IABC Leadership Forum
Gatehouse’s recent State of the Sector (SOTS) report, once again highlighted better measurement as one of the big gaps in IC best practice. Yet it’s an area in which little or no progress is being made. In an era where the use of apps and smart software is common place in the sector, what are the things preventing Communicators from measuring their digital Internal Communications?
The value of measurement
I think to answer that it’s worth asking why measurement is so important? This may seem like a silly rhetorical question, but actually I find from talking to lots of communicators that their reasons for wanting better measurement often differ considerably.
The ones I hear time and again are ‘wanting it to help improve the effectiveness of their comms’ and ‘being able to prove the value of internal comms to management’. Yet most Communicators complain of being unable to do either. In many cases, Comms teams have little or no measurement capability in their digital channels. Even in the organizations where they have some tools, what they’re able to measure isn’t terribly useful.
Sure, some have lots of data like number of page views for the Intranet, the open and click rate for emails and maybe even number of groups or comments on the Enterprise Social Network (ESN); but how is that really useful? What can you do with that?
If you present those figures to senior management, you’re likely to be peppered with questions like:
- That’s nice, now what are you going to do with this data?
- How is this any different or better than what you did last time?
- How did this change or improve things?
The need for better tools
To answer these type of questions, Internal Communications need better tools. Tools that allow them to understand what is happening and create meaning from their data, highlight problem areas to tackle, and demonstrate measurable improvement over time.
The tools being used by many communicators like personal email managers (e.g. Outlook), web analytics or email marketing software provide a limited picture of that particular channel, but no easy way of understanding results of a campaign as a whole across channels. Furthermore, to really understand what’s happening Communicators need to be able to view these results by employee groups such as function, country, business unit. Essentially the reporting data typically available does not allow Communicators to take action, and may be two or more months out of date.
Focus on measuring campaigns across channels
Communicators need measurement that focuses less on the channel through which it was disseminated, and more on how communications or campaigns perform as a whole, across all the channels used. This type of transition has already happened in the external communication world (e.g digital marketing), where marketers can now see how target audiences have interacted with a campaign in real-time across multiple channels; email, websites, social sites, etc; and see what worked best with particular groups. They then use the insights provided by tools to improve results.
At Newsweaver, we’ve been hearing about these obstacles from IC customers for a while now; so we started to ask ourselves could we provide a solution that overcomes these obstacles and provides better IC measurement across channels? After countless conversations with communicators, much research, we decided we could.
I’ll be at the IABC Leadership Institute next week, February 12 – 14 in Orlando, where I’ll be talking about how we’re helping Communicators overcome these challenges to better IC measurement, and what we’re adding to our IC software to enable this.
Join Mossy O’Mahony, VP Product Development, at the Newsweaver room, Odyssey B, during the IABC Leadership Institute event for presentation on Better Measurement of Digital Internal Channels, or drop by for a chat if you’d like to hear more around your measurement challenges.