Having spent 2 days at the Inbound Marketing Summit I learned the following:
- 8 out of 10 mktg execs believe social media can build brand and relationships.
- Nieslen saw a 70% jump in use of social media in the last year
- In the last month one of the major news corps in Canada plus Gourmet Magazine folded
- Ad revenue is down dramatically
- Traditional Advertising is dead as we know it.
So why, at the same time the IMS09 is going on, was another speaker at another PR and marketing conference: advocating using AVE (Ad Value Equivalency) as a measurement for PR? Why would PR want to compare itself to an industry and a business that is in, if not its death throws, certainly in the process of morphing into something we've never seen before.
The speaker's argument is that since most PR people use AVEs anyway, we might as well teach them how to "do it right." To me, that sounds like Southerners in the 1840s that argued against emancipation because "everyone does it," but then suggesting perhaps a Martha Stewart makeover for the slave quarters. There are lots of things that "everyone does" that are still the wrong thing to do. One of my fellow suppliers, Burrelles, justifies its use of AVES because "Customers demand it." Makes me wonder if "customers" demanded child porn and heroin would they deliver those as well?
Folks, it's time to face reality. AVEs are irrelevant when traditional media is going away in its current form, when Procter & Gamble is says it only wants to pay for engagement, IBM declares Advertising dead, and Southwest Airlines and Dell are measuring their PR/Social Media efforts in terms of revenue. The customers that cling to this metrics deserve to be fired, and with luck, they'll soon get out of the way and let the rest of us get on with improving, and measuring our relationships with our constituencies. For my colleagues in the measurement business, advocating a metric that will ultimately mislead the client is simply the wrong thing to do.