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Results measurement, part four: The Point System

November 28, 2011

Dave Anderson

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! We’ve already reviewed three of the five methods I’ve used to measure the results of a communications program: The Thud Factor, Return on Investment, and Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE). In today’s post, I’ll address The Point System. I’ve seen several agencies employ The Point System, a method that combines The Thud Factor with a bit of the value comparison structure that AVE tries to provide.

Like The Thud Factor, The Point System entails the ongoing collection of media placements for future presentation, but this time, each placement is categorized and assigned a point value based on the quality of the coverage. Here’s a typical collection of point values:

 Type of placement*

Point value

 Recurring column – print and online

20

 Cover story – print and online

18

 Bylined article – print and online

16

 Customer case study – print and online

14

 Recurring column – online only

12

 Video or podcast interview – online only

10

 Mention in feature – print and online

8

 Bylined article – online only

6

 News brief – print and online

3

 News brief – online only

1

*For business-to-consumer or those campaigns targeting the broadcast media, you might also have values set for nationally syndicated or regional television and radio coverage.

It’s pretty simple from there: quarterly or annually, your agency/consultant will try to outdo the value (number) from the previous period. Some months may be press release heavy while others may be spent trying to land a couple solid feature article punches. But through this format, you can get a sense for level of effort / number of hours required to achieve success through the different placement types – there needs to be an appropriate balance.

Many organizations favor the use of such a structured and measurable process, because it’s very difficult for an agency to feign success by handing over a stack of news briefs. Sure, coverage from your press release will help you quickly gain broad visibility, but it won’t have the industry-changing impact that a well-written executive opinion piece could have. Not to mention the flexibility and longevity a solid print piece can have when used in conjunction with direct mail, eblasts and trade show promotion – but that’s a story for another day!

One thing to note, while some agencies may have these point values already set in stone based on their experience with your market, each organization will have their own priorities and ideas of what types of coverage are of the most value to them. Ideally, your agency will gain a solid understanding of your objectives and priorities from the initial meetings, and be able to tailor the coverage point values to your needs and preferences.

Next time, I’ll wrap up my five-part, results measurement series with the method that’s my current favorite: website statistical analysis.

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