Key Performance Indicators – KPI – they make MBA students giddy.
Often KPI are a financial measure of progress, success and evaluation. For example, decreasing a transaction cost from $5 to $3, or increasing productivity by 10% over 12 months. The bottom line: they are quantitative measures that help to measure success in achieving one’s strategic objectives.
For communicators, KPI can be a tricky thing. Communications success can be seriously impacted by external factors. For example, if there’s a great marketing plan put in place to promote a golf course, but the course greens are in terrible shape, or staff is unfriendly, then the targeted increase in sales will not prove out. Not because the marketing failed, but because the product failed.
Regardless, communications KPI are critical to measuring success.
Why communicators need KPI?
- To qualify the investment in communications
- To demonstrate continuous improvement
- To confirm strategic goals and objectives
- To highlight non-communications strengths and weakness in the organization (i.e. – if marketing is being successful, but the products not moving – maybe it’s the product and not the marketing)
- To do its own good public relations with the people who control the budget
So, now that we know why we need KPI what might be some basic KPI to consider?
Website traffic – click through, duration, page views, geographic visitation.
Media mentions – is your organization/production being positively referred to by the media?
Social media – how many followers, how many likes, page impressions are you getting from your social media platforms?
These are generic, basic measures which can provide a snapshot of how successful your communications plan is; however, they are just the tip of the iceberg. Communications KPI need to be specific, relevant and meaningful to your organizations business. A good place to start: the business plan, strategic plan or balanced scorecard.