A Wise Use of Measurement Dollars


Here’s some good news about communication budgets in organizations: the percentage of communication budgets spent on measurement and evaluation has more than doubled in two years.

According to USC Annenberg’s Generally Accepted Practices (GAP) VII study conducted late last year, the slice of the communication budget pie increased from about 4% in 2009 to nearly 9% in 2011. The study says not only are there more tools available for monitoring communication effectiveness, but organizations seem to be taking a more strategic view of communication.

This is great news for communicators, but it also increases the pressure on us to prove our value to the organizations we serve. Business leaders increasingly expect the communication function to positively affect the bottom line (and there are plenty of recent studies that indicate highly effective communication programs do just that).

One of the wisest investments you can make in communication measurement is to assess what is working and what needs fixing in your communication program. The best way to do that is through a communication audit, which uses quantitative and qualitative research to determine how your communication dollars are best spent.

Along with my partner Katrina Gill of Gill Research, I’ve conducted several communication audits over the years and our clients always tell us the audits were worth the time and resources required to do them. An audit gives you a clear picture of what your employees want and need to know, what your management needs to communicate, and the most effective and efficient ways to communicate with employees. In addition, there is great value in having a third party conduct the assessment. Sometimes communicators can’t see the problems with their communication programs — or the things they’re doing well — because they are too close.

Although communication is viewed much more favorably these days as a strategic business tool, budgets are still pretty tight. It’s a good idea to ensure those limited resources are allocated in ways that make the most sense. That’s what a communication audit can do for you.

If you’d like to talk with me about the communication audit process, send me an email at robert@hollandcomm.com.

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