Top 5 Ways to Stop Clients from Using AVEs

Okay.  So the PR pros at your agency know how wrong AVEs are.  That they DO NOT measure the value of PR and our No AVEs imageindustry as a whole has abolished them.  So what do you do about the client that insists that AVEs be used for their campaign?  Do you provide a totally inaccurate, non industry supported value that you don’t even believe in yourself?  I don’t think so.  I know it is hard, when clients are firm in their requests (stubborn), but we do have to gently stand up for what we believe as the best way to measure the value of PR.  So let’s take a look at 5 ways you can take a stand against AVEs while educating your clients on the best measurement practices.

1.  Explain that the industry AND your agency do not use AVEs anymore.  It turns out that they do not measure the value of PR accurately at all.

2.  Provide them with the best articles you can find that explain the reasoning behind this decision.

  • Do it as a short , visually appealing slide show presentation during one of your meetings
  • E-mail them short articles over a period of time
  • Take your client to lunch and discuss the issue with a handout to highlight the main points

3.  Explain how successful it has been to approach PR measurement in a new way.  Using other clients as an example.

4.  Ask if they would be willing to try something new.  Then work with them on how to come up with clear company objectives that can be connected with clear measurement outcomes.

5.  Show them the benefits of measuring continuously during a campaign so adjustments can be made as you go.

6.  Introduce the “funnel approach” to them.  Explaining that they want to ideally walk their customers through a funnel that leads from:  Awareness — >  Knowledge –>  Interest –>  Support  –> Action

7.  Come up with ways to link PR activities to PR results that have a dollar value.  For example:  total sales/sales leads/savings from reduced complaints.

I believe if you can get them to try this approach with their next PR campaign, that they will be sold on how it makes more sense.  Not only that, it will help them to make adjustment along the way and to understand what works and what doesn’t work for their particular goal.  Then… you can officially kiss those nasty AVEs goodbye!

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Let’s Add In-Depth Numbers to AVE’s

Judging by some of the measurement pieces I’ve read lately, there is still a lot of focus on the AVE debate. I personally think it is time to move beyond the debate. Yes, most of us in PR know that AVE’s are just a prediction of how many people might see your message, and that they don’t allow you to truly evaluate PR’s impact. But, clients and execs still look for AVE data because it is something they understand, something familiar. So what is a PR pro to do? Why not give your clients the AVE info they want, but also provide more in-depth numbers and educate your clients on what they mean. In my experience, AVE’s lose their luster when presented side-by-side with more insightful metrics. So, let’s stop debating and start focusing our energy on educating clients about what data they should be interested in. I think taking this sort of action will produce the desired outcome (the end of AVE’s) most quickly.

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