Metrics and Cockfosters

I’ve been a bit delinquent in writing my fair share of posts recently due to my recent vacation to London. I spent one glorious week with my little sister and parents exploring one of the oldest cities in the world.

Continually struck by the historic and surreal atmosphere of the city, I often daydreamed about how different my life could be. What if my ancestors hadn’t left for the new world, would I live in London? Would I still giggle at words like Cockfosters and bangers and mash? (Hang with me for a moment, I promise this isn’t an entirely sentimental and introspective post.)

Each choice we make can have a profound effect on our lives. If I had not chosen to visit the University of North Carolina when I was a senior in high school, I would never have spent four years there. Had I not attended UNC, I likely would not have gone searching for a new major when biochemistry didn’t pan out. If I had continued to push myself to study something I wasn’t truly passionate about, I would never have signed up for the journalism class that led to where I am today.

You can never wake up one day and decide what your life will be like. You choose your path with each choice.

Similarly, you cannot wait until you have finished a campaign, look back and expect to find success. I have said this time and again, but I will keep writing about it until the entire PR industry really listens. Measurement must be planned from the very beginning.

On rare occasions, you will get lucky and be able to find some numbers retroactively. But if you want to really prove value, you have to set yourself up at the very beginning. Decide what success will look like and how you can realistically track it. Record benchmarks so you can accurately show where you were and where you are in the end.

Often I think folks assume that because there is such a wealth of data available online, there is no need to worry about measurement at first. A great deal of data is only available if you have planned to track it and have measures in place. In most instances, you cannot simply decide one day that you want data from the past three months and obtain it easily.

Planning for metrics may seem as silly to PR folks as Cockfosters seems to Americans, but we must learn to become more comfortable with measurement to accurately show our value. Plan for measurement as soon as you start planning anything at all, and you will be able to prove your worth every time.