Data informs future PR, not past

17 September 2014

LONDON: Far more senior marketers use PR and social media data to plan future campaigns than to measure the outcome of past ones, a new survey has revealed.

Based on the responses of 100 global marketing practitioners, PR agency Hotwire said over half (51%) reported that their principal use of data is to inform future plans and strategies compared to 28% who use it to analyse the success of past campaigns.

Timed to coincide with the launch of the first Measurement Week organised by the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC), the survey also found only a very small minority (5%) feel their organisation is equipped to extract meaningful insights from the data.

Brendon Craigie, CEO of Hotwire, said measurement should be "at the heart of every campaign", but that measurement on its own is not enough.

"Marketers are now waking up to the real benefits of data – not simply using it reactively to measure performance, but gaining invaluable insight at the planning stage to ensure campaign success from the outset – and then all the way through to completion," he said.

Younger marketers are the most active users of data for planning, the survey found, with nearly two-thirds (65%) of those aged under 34 using data mostly for planning future campaigns.

This age group is also the most trusting of data that comes from their own department (71%) and are also the most likely to embrace a 24/7 approach to media consumption (59%) compared to an average of 53% of marketing professionals.

The survey also revealed that marketers have a relatively sceptical approach towards data from their own department.

Only half (51%) completely trust data from their own department, which the report said is a sign that marketers recognise there is a fine balance between capturing data and placing it in the context of their own experience.

"Data should inform but not drive strategy and it cannot replace creativity and experience," Craigie said.

Data sourced from Hotwire; additional content by Warc staff