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Outputs vs. Outcomes

Posted in Best Practices

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend PRISMs, the annual awards show for Kansas City’s PRSA chapter.  Another agency took home Best in Show for a new product launch they executed for a large greeting card company.

Listening to the description of the campaign, I was pretty impressed by the figures they were able to throw out.  The campaign garnered billions of impressions and was obviously viewed as a success.

It also represents what I consider an outdated way to measure success in that it focuses on outputs rather than outcomes.

Here is a quick refresher for those who may have forgotten the difference.  Outputs are essentially WHAT you did, while outcomes are WHAT HAPPENED because of what you did.

My argument against outputs comes not from how they are measured, but from WHY we want to measure them in the first place.  And that has to do with the goals we set for ourselves.  It has to do with whether you are working towards COMMUNICATION goals or BUSINESS goals.

PR firms are engaged or retained to help a business achieve a business goal.  Therefore, especially in the current climate where every dollar spent is being examined for its ROI, demonstrating progress towards that business goal is of paramount importance.  If you are stuck on meeting communication goals (we sent out 5 releases that garnered 25 stories and 5 million impressions), you are leaving a lot on the table in terms of value to your client.

And if your client doesn’t see the value of your work, don’t expect to see that client around for very long.

Looking for ways to help transition from outputs to outcomes?  Check out Check out Shel Holtz’s thoughts on influence or these thoughts from Shonali Burke, ABC, on measurement.

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Comments Off Posted on by Matt Dunn

Blog Action Day

Posted in Online Marketing, Social Media

Today is Blog Action Day, an initiative designed to get thousands of bloggers to unite around one topic – poverty. As many of us track the markets ups, and mostly downs, of the last few weeks, the anxiety of watching the fruits of your life’s work diminish is overwhelming. But few of us actually realize what it is like to live in poverty.

I’m fortunate to have participated in the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Centurions Leadership program. The organization fosters community leaders and raises awareness about local issues while encouraging civic responsibility. Issues studied range from transportation and healthcare to international trade and the arts. When we studied poverty and homelessness, we participated in a Poverty Simulation. Wow! What an eye-opening experience.

What I like about Blog Action Day is that many of the posts focus on how you can take action and make a difference. Use today as an inspiration to help combat poverty in our nation, whether it’s volunteering at a homeless shelter, giving to your favorite poverty-fighting cause, or providing canned goods to your local food pantry. Sometimes, giving a helping hand puts things back in perspective and makes us thankful for what we do have.

In the Kansas City, here are just a couple of opportunities to fight poverty this week:

  • Donate to Harvesters, which is in need of canned fruit, rice, sugar and jelly.
  • Drop some canned or dry goods by the Hyvee at 6801 West 91st Street this Friday (10/16) between 5 am and 6 pm  and help The Salvation Army food drive

This blog is part of Blog Action Day 08 – Poverty

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Comments Off Posted on by Sheri Johnson