By Gina Joseph Despite a rainy morning, Day Two of AMEC Measurement Week in NYC started off with great insights and key takeaways on how PR metrics are used to connect with customers and predict future behavior. Peter Shankman, author and founder of Help A Reporter Out (HARO), kicked off the day’s sessions with some entertaining anecdotes to illustrate his “four rules every brand should follow.”
  • Transparency
Shankman talked about the importance of brands staying one step ahead by sharing information, being up front and opening up their data. Having a transparent approach to public communication builds trust and makes any crisis situation more manageable. Transparency between departments within an organization is key as well, said Shankman. “Un-silo your workplace and get people to talk to each other,” he said. For example, customer service should have an all-access pass within a company so they know how to respond when a problem first arises.
  • Relevance
A brand’s relevancy can often be tied directly to the data it has on its audience. The best way to learn about a customer is through analyzing the metrics on that customer, and reaching out to them based on those findings, Shankman said. This creates invested customers. “Invested customers spend 2.5 times more than other customers,” he said. By getting their input and targeting their preferences, brands become relevant to their audience.
  • Brevity
With the average attention span at only 2.7 seconds (roughly how long it takes to read 140 characters), brands must be able to grab someone instantly. Shankman said this means brands have to have great writers. Great writing creates trust, builds interest and grabs those consumers who would otherwise be on to something else.
  • Be Top of Mind
“The ability to measure data is your greatest ally,” Shankman said. Knowing how and when to reach out to your customers helps keep you in the forefront of their minds—creating what Shankman coined “zombie loyalists.” These are the brand advocates who will keep coming back and bring others with them. By analyzing customer data, brands can “bring random amazement into normal situations.” When people expect the worse, they remember the brands that created a special experience. “Predictive analytics means knowing the end from the beginning.” –Matt Poulton Next up was Matt Poulton of Western Governors University, an online non-profit college. As a data scientist, Poulton talked about his experience in analyzing student data to create predictive models. By monitoring how students are studying, learning and interacting in online classes and forums, WGU can decide who should be admitted and who should pursue additional outlets in order to be successful as a student. It can also predict a student’s chances of failure and reverse that progression by intervening and providing guidance. Poulton compared this approach to that of eHarmony, which follows successful couples over a long period of time, and then uses those as a model to predict the best potential matches for new customers. “Predictive analytics means knowing the end from the beginning,” Poulton said. Much of the same principles apply to PR, and involve monitoring and analyzing data sets to predict future outcomes. PR pros should learn from the data they can collect, and target customers using the metrics that prove successful. Gina Joseph is a features writer and editor for Cision Blog, and is also the digital engagement manager for Cision’s marketing department. Follow her on Twitter at @Cision.