I got a peek yesterday at yet another piece of the CGM puzzle that Paul Gillin would call "disruptive technology." Its called VendorRate and it allows B2B customers to anonymously rate vendors.
Think BizRate on steroids for the B to B marketplace. Most companies have policies about talking about vendors, but the completely anonymous environment changes that dynamic. You have to register and qualify to rate, so the system prohibits vendors from rating themselves.
Why should PR people care? and what does this have to do with measurement? you ask.
In the old days, it used to be that PR people "Launched" a product by talking to key journalists, issuing a press release and maybe having a launch tour or party. With luck, the right media would write about it, and with luck the right people would be influenced by those reviews and maybe buy the produce.
VendorRate takes that journalist/reviewer/analyst entirely out of the picture, and substitutes a reviewer that is much more likely to be trusted, according to most research. People are much more likely to trust people like themselves. So a trusted rating system by B2B reviewers is going to have much more credibility than the reviewers at TechCrunch, Engadget etc. In fact, in KDPaine & Partners own research we've found evidence that customer-generated reviews are more influential in the sales cycle than professional reviews.
So increasingly the onus is placed on the organization to have a good relationship with its customers, do the right thing, make good products, not just have the best "launch" or the best spin.
Where does that leave PR? Right where it should be. Working on improving the organizations trust and credibility (and, we hope, measuring it.) and improving relationships and communications between customers and employees. That is, unless they abdicate that to marketing.