Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
June 12, 2013

Only the Best Data Can Lead to Better Decisions and Direction

I’ve long been a fan gal for research in PR. Personally, I obsess over trends, opinions and ultimately, what motivates customer sentiment toward a brand, product or an entirely new way of doing things.

Professionally, research solves so many things — identifying specifically who to target and how these people consume content. Research allows us to truly move beyond metrics that never satisfy internal audiences to those that demonstrate true, meaningful impact.

Also, it’s fun to identify the sentiments we can unlock, uncover and expedite for clients and prospects. Previously though, research had its challenges — it could be cumbersome, costly and slow. It was often times very hard to sell in primary research or audience insight programs, particularly to start-up or mid-stage companies that could benefit from such critical information.

With tools like SurveyMonkey, better data is now a possibility for all communication professionals. SurveyMonkey is a client, and my company Airfoil has relied on many of its open-source technologies to:

  • Win more business. Surveys can help agencies go outside of the dedicated scope of work to identify new pain points for companies, or unaddressed key constituents or influencers. We’ve helped companies understand directly the most influential media types (and mix) and social behaviors to feel confident about the strategies we’re suggesting.
  • Provide statistics that have not been previously seen. Whether introducing economic impact statistics or entirely new ways that businesses and consumers are behaving, media and influencer targets, and companies alike appreciate fresh and compelling trend stats.
  • Bulletproof strategy. Ensuring that we embed a survey element helps to test that we’re moving in the right direction for our customers and prospects, and that the behavior we’re looking to motivate can truly be moved.
  • Write surveys that elicit the feedback that is most powerful. Writing a powerful survey is part art, part science. As communicators, we have the natural ability to use surveys to tell a story.

Data-driven insights consistently position PR professionals as trusted consultants and resources for clients and colleagues. I’m proud to partner with SurveyMonkey’s Vice President and General Manager of SurveyMonkey Audience, Brent Chudoba, and share practical advice on infusing analytics and programming surveys for maximum impact during the PRSA Digital Impact Conference session, “Data-Driven Business Decisions: Improving Current and Prospective Work With Quantified Insights.”

Tracey Parry, APR, is senior vice president and partner at Airfoil Public Relations.



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