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June 16, 2009


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Damn you Don, I was getting all pyched for growing the largest tomato in New Hampshire but you've convinced me to keep fighting the fight. My only hope is that the dinosaurs who keep pushing AVEs will become victims of the recessing and be replaced with a new generation of PR people who understand the language of business.

Don Bartholomew

Hi Katie,
As the holder of Google search results page 1, positions 1 & 2 for "Advertising Value Equivalents", my position against the use of AVEs is pretty clear. I'm very pleased to see you attempt to hammer them into submission once again.

The core issue IMO is the PR profession's desire for an easy way to put a dollar value on results and show ROI. In doing so, the credibility of the profession is dinged.

Most practitioners, to build on Chuck's point, don't have the knowledge to articulate how PR helps achieve desired business outcomes by adding value in exposure, engagement and influence, nor the research savvy to explain data-driven approaches to measuring ROI.

As to your question, when you returned in a year,sadly I believe there would still be similar usage of AVEs. Katie, I know you are aware that fairly recently, the WOM folks were proposing using AVEs to put a dollar value on peer-to-peer conversations. Totally over-the-top dumb idea. Old ideas, even bad ones, die hard. Let's keep fighting the fight. Postpone gardening for now.
-Don B @donbart

Cason Lane

Sad but true: Clicks and hits are often what clients want, and it's an easy way for us to deliver a perceived "quick win." But I explain to clients that clicks and hits are not the endgame. They may help indicate tactical reach, but they don't measure impact on the business. To measure that impact, we have to look at how the audience responds to the communication -- in the form of purchase, loyalty, referrals, productivity, other such behaviors.

Most clients usually get this when I explain it, but they may not completely trust it -- which is a great opportunity for us to show what real measurement looks like. One current client not only understands it, they're excited about it. They can't wait to show senior management how their departmental communications are building market share.


@edw3rd is right. The downside of RSS, spiders and SM API feeds is that now everyone wants to count, grade, rate and score simple counts. Google Alerts, The Meltwater telemarketers, and Blogger Alist badges have dumbed down the industry for the rest of us


The industry has regressed to the mean.

The more important question for you, and others of us like you, is whether we can be Happier people by not engaging with the masses. No more speaking; no more judging or judgment; no more hints, tips, tweets or homilies?

The facts are: THEY are not frustrated. WE are.

Andrew Laing

Problem is there's a bug that's been eating away at my arugula and beans, i'm on my third transplant of cucumbers and the basil looks like I'm trying to grow it in Nevada. I think I'm best suited to sticking with measurement.

Chuck Hemann

Katie - you and I think very much alike on the value (or lack thereof) of AVE's. None of our clients use them, but I think that has more to do with our ability to dissuade them from doing so. You've obviously been doing this stuff for quite a while and are able to speak with your clients about metrics that would be infinitely more valuable to gauge success. I think the larger problem is that we have account reps who often are not able to speak with their clients about the topic of measurement, and wouldn't have the slightest clue on how to dissuade their clients from using a worthless metric like AVE's.

Anyway, I always appreciate your posts!

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