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Communication Metrics
Every communication program features inherent opportunities to measure success. This is contingent upon a number of factors, including whether the client:
  • applies its own resources to track progress
  • engages news monitoring, clipping, or content analysis services
  • has a firm commitment to benchmark research
There are generally three levels of communication measurement: output, outtakes, and outcomes.

Output measurement assesses productivity such as the number of news releases, speaking opportunities and media placements that were produced. A more meaningful way to quantify results may involve tracking the number of website hits, toll-free calls, or sales leads produced from a seminar or conference event. There is also merit in further validating media placements by calculating the number of consumers they reached, and by evaluating whether the news content was "on message" with the company's strategic message points.

Determining outtakes relies on research to benchmark how awareness, retention and general understanding can be shifted over time in the desired manner. This typically involves conducting a survey about awareness among particular target audiences regarding relevant subjects, and assessing their feedback and propensity to share their views by word-of-mouth.

Outcomes are based on similar research, but actually track changes in target audiences' opinion, attitudes and, ultimately, behavior. The initial benchmark research illustrates the specific changes the communication strategy should be designed to bring about. The research that follows the program measures the extent to which those changes occurred. Another aspect of outcomes measurement evaluates the direct impact of a communication program on product sales and inquiries, but this typically requires internal tracking by the client.


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