Weber Shandwick, one of the world’s largest public relations firms, announced today a suite of communications metrics that will assist clients in determining ROI with regard to on and offline PR campaigns. Arrow, as the system is termed, consists of a library of performance indicators from which correlative data can be gleaned. The system is designed to provide “virtual real time” campaign effectiveness feedback for Weber’s clients.
Arrow was three years in the making, as Weber Shandwick interfaced with clients over this period to combine industry best practices with emerging research methods for a much better image of measurement according to the company’s press release. Evidently Arrow attempts to correlate data within categories against input data via communicative variables. The exact interface or modality behind the system was not fully revealed however. The press release paints a rather vague portrait of a system supposedly using polls, surveys, focus groups, media content analysis, social media analysis, web analytics, competitive intelligence (CIA?), advocate profiling, market mix analysis and lastly advocacy network analysis. Wow! All I can say is that there server capacity must rival even Google.
According to Weber Shandwick’s Executive VP of Measurement and Strategy Tim Marklein, “Every marketing discipline has to sing for its supper in 2009.” This being said, one can only wonder at a Beethoven tune like this press release being belted out on a relative kazoo for Arrow. Of course we could be terribly wrong in our rather curt evaluation, after all, we have not tested the service. But, claiming to be able to do something so complex, with so many dependent variables, requires a little more than a textual press release I should think. The way Arrow is described in this wordy release, one has to wonder how input data for so many fields is even entered.
I hate to be overly critical all the time, but it is jargon and hype like this, unsupported by any substantiation, that make us all look like tricksters. At least a screenshot of the output report seems to be in order here, but even the Weber Shandwick site offers little more than a “sound bit” by way of explanation. Arrow could just as easily be another database, input output system like others already in use elsewhere.
I could be fully wrong, but it looks like Weber Shandwick has been hit by a rash of questions about “campaign effectiveness” to me. Everyone in the industry knows that many potential clients these days would love to be able to get performance based PR, something that any good PR expert will tell them is virtually impossible pre-campaign. Until my friends at Powerset or hakia come up with true a AI (and perhaps not even then), I will believe in Arrow when I see it in use.
Weber Shandwick is one of the most respected names in communications, and I am a little surprised they would tout something without a world of supportive illustration. even if the application is all it should be, it is still bad PR to paint it with a dry brush.