PORTSMOUTH, NH—Responding to what she calls “a huge hunger for information,” public relations research veteran Katie Paine is launched a new measurement auditing service that will allow PR and marketing professionals to evaluate the effectiveness of existing measurement and evaluation efforts and ensure they are getting value for money in their programming.

Paine’s new company, KDPaine & Partners will analyzes an organization’s existing measurement program and grades it on its accuracy, timeliness, appropriateness to the goal and cost effectiveness. The new service compares what is being measured with the organization’s goals and objectives, and produces a report that tells the company whether their results are accurate and actionable, and also whether the current research is providing the information that the organization needs in order to accomplish its objectives.

“Our goal with this new product is to establish a standard of accountability for PR at the highest levels of an organization,” says Paine, who says she drew heavily on the Institute for Public Relations’ Guidelines and Standards for Measuring and Evaluating PR Effectiveness, along with her own 16 years of experience in the field, in developing the new product.

“Just as it is with financial results, having your PR results certified by an outside, independent third party will serve to raise the level of credibility of the entire PR department and ensure that your program is achieving the utmost efficiencies.”

Paine says there is increased interest in research, especially among agencies, because of the current economic climate. “ As pitches get more competitive and business gets tougher to win, everyone is looking for a competitive advantage. The reality is that research is the competitive advantage and that if they based programs on fact rather than gut, they’d have better stories to tell.”

In addition to measuring success, research is increasingly being used as a diagnostic tool, to help clients and agencies adjust programs in real-time, focusing resources on the most effective tactics.

“The trend is to look beyond media measurement to things like customer loyalty and tracking behavioral or attitude changes,” says Paine. “Things like Internet traffic are becoming more important as a measure of success. For those who never paid attention to research before, the pressure is on, and they are scrambling to understand the whole issue.”

For that reason, she says, her firm has posted 17 new white papers, handbooks and buyer’s guides to its website.

And while many agencies have developed their own proprietary measurement systems, Paine worries that creates a system in which “the fox guards the chicken coop. Agencies shouldn’t be measuring themselves anyway.”