How a Simple Cost-Benefit Analysis of Outsourcing PR Measurement Can Save You Time—and Money
Be honest: Are you prepared for what’s shaping up to be the “Year of Data”? Businesses in all sectors are mining and analyzing data to learn about customers, competitors and opportunities that will help them achieve greater success in 2017. The trend is true in PR, too. Companies have graduated beyond simply tracking coverage and measuring outputs. Instead, they’re embracing advanced measurement that delivers true business data and competitive intelligence. In many cases, PR is now tasked with delivering data-driven insights beyond the PR function to help other business divisions understand trends, recognize opportunities and make more informed decisions. For these high-performing PR teams, it is critical to find cost-effective ways to track, analyze and apply data. That’s why many are asking whether it’s more cost-effective to outsource PR measurement than to manage it in-house. The answer can be easy to determine, but only if you consider both the actual price of measurement—and the less obvious cost-benefits of internal measurement and outsourcing.
Survey Results Show That Cost Considerations Vary Widely
As you know, finding the most cost-efficient way of researching and applying data is necessary when you have a limited measurement budget. So, what is the best way to measure PR and leverage the power of data from a cost perspective? PR pros are divided on that very question, according to a recent Wallop! OnDemand survey. Responses showed that:
- 39% of PR pros feel measurement that is conducted internally by skilled team members is most costly,
- 34% feel outsourced measurement is more costly,
- and 27% think the costs are equal.
Tailor Your Cost Analysis by Answering Four Key Questions
The varied survey results underscore that cost factors are different for every business. To determine whether or not outsourcing is the smartest choice for your PR department, consider these questions:
- How much media coverage do you regularly get?
- How much time/manpower is needed to track coverage, analyze results, and create reports?
- Who are the internal team members responsible for handling measurement? What are their salaries?
- How does the amount of salary applied to internal measurement compare with what you would pay an external measurement provider?
Dig Deeper into Salaries and Associated Costs
Knowing how much it costs to perform internal PR measurement and analysis is essential to making the right choice when it comes to outsourcing. Teams frequently evaluate different measurement providers and compare the costs between vendors, but they don’t always do the math necessary to adequately compare those fees with all of the costs associated with internal measurement. For starters, those internal costs should include the hourly salary that team members are paid to provide coverage tracking, analyze data, create reports and develop data-driven counsel. The amount of time these tasks require and the level of salary your employees earn only partially determines the cost of in-house measurement. There are also less obvious costs, including—but not limited to—training and managing quality control.
Survey data shows that 40% of corporate organizations offer annual salaries of $40,000+ for junior PR team members. Chances are one in two that these junior staffers are sharing or carrying full responsibility for their company’s coverage tracking and PR measurement efforts. This puts investments for a typical benchmark of 20 monthly hours of measurement in the starting range of $420/month for these PR departments. The cost obviously rises if mid- or senior-level employees with larger salaries are involved. Again, each PR department needs to calculate its own internal measurement costs since salaries, time requirements and other factors vary.
Compare Cost Calculations Against These Benefits
Once you determine the actual cost of in-house measurement you can weigh the benefits of outsourcing. The overwhelming majority of surveyed PR pros shared that there needs to be a cost-benefit for them to consider outsourcing measurement. This can be a direct dollar-to-dollar benefit, or it may include other benefits that impact the overall budget, such as:
- The ability to redeploy junior staff to more campaign-oriented tasks.
- Eliminating the “back burner” syndrome (i.e., junior team members neglecting measurement to deliver on work that provides greater advancement opportunities).
- Improving continuity and managing risk (e.g., no need to worry about coverage and measurement while internal employees are on vacation, out of the office, etc.).
- Eliminating the need to constantly train/manage new staff on measurement tasks.
- Increased staffing flexibility (i.e., easily scaling resources when you need them and releasing them when you don’t).
Make the Commitment and Crunch the Numbers
These outsourcing benefits can potentially save your program time and money. Considering these less obvious cost factors is critical when weighing the pros and cons of outsourcing measurement.
Making the commitment to put effective PR measurement into action for your business is the first step. Follow up by crunching numbers and doing your research, so you can be sure you are making the right choice for your company’s PR. And remember to consider both the actual price of measurement and the cost-benefits of internal measurement and outsourcing to successfully determine the best use of your budget and resources in the “Year of Data.”
The Post was culled from Bulldog Report.