In this newsletter, Les Binet's article on marketing attribution chimes with us, pointing out that in measurement, simple correlation is rarely correct. Those of us working in comms need to be more open to innovation and ideas from outside the sector, whether in measurement and evaluation or the adoption of AI tools in our daily work. There is complexity in these changes that we can help you master. Happy reading.
See you at the AMEC Global Summit on Measurement and Evaluation in Miami?
In May Purposeful Relations co-founders Tim and Stuart will both be in sunny Miami for the AMEC Global Summit. Really looking forward to catching up with friends and colleagues from the PR and communication measurement community. We'll have some time before and after the summit so if you want to catch up outside the formal summit and networking events then let me know. Tim's hoping to arrange a trip to watch a baseball match, so let us know if you fancy tagging along.
Data, measurement, analytics
Digital attribution is dead! Words of wisdom from Les Binet on econometrics
Attribution modelling is dead! Long live, err... A persuasive essay on why the marketeer's favourite—attribution modelling—is at best a crude tool and one that is not going to improve as we move away from having access to third-party cookie data. Calling the alternative econometrics feels like a marketing slight–of–hand though. Only last year we were talking about big data, or large dataset analysis. This is surely the same approach, using regression analysis to find out which of the many activities you undertake has an actual impact.
Is this the marketing version of the public relations AVE's debate? We all know it's dodgy, but the alternative is complex and requires significant retooling for an organisation to implement. BTW, if you want to improve your measurement and evaluation, contact us for a chat, it is what we do when not writing newsletters.
Research and reports
A quarter of comms leaders refuse to embrace AI despite wave of interest
Remember how PR missed the boat on website development, SEO and social media? Well one in four (25%) of PR leaders say they will never use AI tools, such as ChatGPT, according to the latest PRCA and ICCO Confidence Tracker.
We've been using AI tools based on GPT-3 technology long before ChatGPT launched last November and shot AI into the mainstream. Even before GPT-3, as early as 2015, we had tools like Automated Insight's Wordsmith which uses AI to write stories based on datasets.
With GPT-4 just about to launch it's now critical that you, and your whole team, understand the opportunities and risks of AI. It impacts on how you do public relations and communications on a day-to-day basis, but also has big strategic implications on the wider business and organisation.
For at least seven years we've been delivering workshops on the impact of AI on PR and comms. We can deliver a face-to-face or remote briefing on AI to you and your team. It's a workshop that we're updating on an almost daily basis, and we've delivered versions of it to a wide range of clients including most recently the Council of Ministers of the European Union and a masterclass in Dubai.
Editorial media sites dominate Google results and why it matters for PR
For years I've been making the case that traditional media relations is extremely effective SEO. It's just that public relations professionals often don't understand the SEO benefit they are creating. This detailed report contains data that shows editorial media sites dominate Google's search results.
Just 16 companies own 562 media brands which get 3.7 billion clicks per month from Google searches. The brands aren't necessarily the big news brands with a history in print or broadcasting, but are lots of niche and specialist categories. What Hi Fi, Vogue, Rolling Stone, Muscle Fitness, The Verge, DivorceNet, Bike, Moms, Mashable, TV Guide and more.
Instead of thinking digital or advertising is eating our lunch, we need to really understand what modern media relations looks like.
How AI is pushing the boundaries of creativity
Technology and future journalist and writer Becca Caddy has written a great summary of a number of issues around the rapid adoption of AI based creativity tools. The discussion on who own a synthetically created, but otherwise indistinguishable, version of Eminen's voice raises profound issues. If GPT-4, for example, contains copyrighted works, how is the owner compensated? And should they be compensated, if at all? As if copyright law is not complex enough.
The visual effects industry also offers a counter point to 'the AI's will steal out jobs' perspective, showing where it can be used to reduce tedious manual processes. Though this could be the start of effects artists helping to perfect their replacements.
Becca Caddy is a member of Purposeful Relations' Advisory Board.
Just wanted to add an additional thought to Tim's piece. The use of intellectual property is one we often discuss when I run workshops on AI. There are two main schools of thought. One is that expressed by the lawyer in Becca's article who is attempting to justify his existence by claiming infringement if the AI data set includes copyright work. The other is that the copyright work is simply being used for inspiration which is what writers, composers and artists have done for centuries. They aren't copying or using the work of other people, but are obviously influenced by it as they've spent their entire life seeing it and hearing it.
Which school of thought is closest to what you think?
Don't let your own (or your peers') biases and preferences ruin effective work
In the last issue of PR Futurist, we shared some research from VistaCreate and the Content Marketing Institute that showed marketeers personal likes and dislikes don't match what consumers like and dislike.
In this issue we have another example of the same problem. Advertising professionals’ view of what makes a good ad is not only biased, it’s usually wrong, as their reaction to Tourism Australia’s last campaign shows.
The example I often use is every day my Twitter account tweets out my Paper.li newsletter. It's an automated 'newspaper' made up of stories from links shared by people in my Twitter network. The automated tweet includes some Twitter handles who were some of the story sources. I hate it. It's spammy and horrible. Why do I do it everyday? Because it works. I have people replying to say thanks for including them. I have DMs and emails to say thank you. I've had work out of doing it. I still hate it, but while it works I'll keep doing it.
PR Newswire puts news releases into elevators and lifts
This is one piece of CommTech news that as a PR Futurist I didn't imagine I'd ever be sharing. PR Newswire has partnered with a "digital out-of-home video network' to distribute releases on its newswire to video screens in elevators (lifts).
In plain English what this means is selected news releases will appear on elevator (lift) and lobby displays in "Class A office towers and luxury multifamily residential properties" in "30 markets across the US and Canada."
My main takeaway from this is the need to write news release as actual news that people will want to read, rather than in old-fashioned press release speak with nonsense phrases like "leading" or quotes saying "delighted". Ironically, the PR Newswire announcement is a perfect example of how not to write a good news story as the first line is truly awful:
"CHICAGO, March 1, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- PR Newswire, a Cision company, is further amplifying the visibility of its clients' news through a strategic partnership with Captivate, a leading digital-out-of-home video network."
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New technologies and more sophisticated processes are essential for communications organisations to 'keep up'. Without this positive change we risk marginalising ourselves and letting others gain mastery of the new technolgies that could be ours. Whether the implications and adoption of AI, or making choices between different technology platforms, Purposeful Relations can advise. Let's talk.