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    Katie Delahaye Paine (twitter: KDPaine) is the CEO and founder of KDPaine & Partners LLC and author of, Measuring Public Relationships, the data-driven communicators guide to measuring success. She also writes the first blog and the first newsletters dedicated entirely to measurement and accountability. In the last two decades, she and her firm have listened to millions of conversations, analyzed thousands of articles, and asked hundreds of question in order to help her clients better understand their relationships with their constituencies. People talk, we listen..

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April 27, 2006

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Tracey Bochner

As a member of the CPRS Measurement Committee I think I can confidently speak for all of us when I say that Andrew's lack of support for the MRP system is hardly surprising. While he is entitled to his opinion, and to protect Cormex's interests, some of his comments are not particularly accurate.

I don’t know many agencies that use Cormex or its competitors (nor, to the best of my knowledge, have many of my clients) in large part due to the cost—-not because we are unwilling to measure results.

And, no one on the committee suggested that measuring editorial media coverage was new—-heck, we’ve all been doing it in one form or another for years.

What is new is the ability for all of us to use the same system—-because it was developed by industry professionals, because it is endorsed by professional associations, because—according to many who have used it—it works, and because it is cost-effective.

The MRP system was born out of the idea that there should be a standardized and free way to measure editorial media coverage that works for everyone in the country—-from the Omnicom agencies to a sole practitioner working out of their home. It had to work for everyone.

I am proud that we managed to develop a system that is free. (You do have to pay for the reach data because there is no free way to access it, but News Canada has been a great partner and found a way to provide that data very inexpensively.)

This, however, doesn’t mean that PR practitioners have to stop there.

There is significantly more analysis that could be done---as Dave Jones has pointed out, this is not a tool to measure the overall effectiveness of public relations; it simply helps all of us do a better job reporting the results of media relations campaigns.

So, use the MRP system and stop there, or add on your own customized, proprietary agency/company analysis tools as a point of differentiation, or go ahead and hire a company like Cormex—that part is up to you, your client and your needs.

And, finally, to Andrew’s suggestion that MRPs are “simply a way to let the Canadian PR firms continue to grade their own homework”:
1. At our launch, which Andrew attended, more than 50% of the room was filled with PR practitioners from corporations, not agencies. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and, judging from the numerous emails the committee gets each day, both the agency and corporate world are coming on board.
2. What we recommend is that practitioners (agency or otherwise) get their clients involved at the outset of a program to determine the criteria being used to evaluate a media relations campaign.

Suggesting that we are “grading our own homework” implies that our clients are somehow ignorant about what a “positive” story would be, which in my experience is far from the truth. Our clients are smart people and savvy about media relations -- to suggest we could tell them a story was positive and it was not just doesn't make any sense.

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