Why “I hate math” is a PR Pro’s Death Sentence #PSRAICON

Photo courtesy: GithubThe day of my Econ 101 final, I swore off functions, curves and computations forever and declared a major in the farthest thing away I could find — French. And (while I’m being honest), when I began a career in PR, I never thought complex, algorithm-based analytics would become a cornerstone of my day-to-day decision-making. But thanks to Facebook, Google and that beast we call Big Data, they have.

At this week’s PRSA International Conference in Washington DC, Facebook’s Vice President of Global Communications Mike Buckley urged roughly a thousand right-brained PR professionals to repair their burned bridges with all things mathematical and embrace data and analytics as the true communication allies they can be.

“Data is power,” Buckley said. “It gives us intelligence that enhances our ability to advise, manage expectations and help our companies grow.”

Not convinced yet? Here are Buckley’s reasons why communicators should start paying attention to analytics NOW:

So, how can we begin building bridges with our mathematical brains? Here are Buckley’s tips:

  1. Go to lunch and talk shop with the data gurus on your teams; find ways to collaborate and understand each other’s strengths
  2.  Push your clients and managers to spend money on data analytics; convince them of the value this info provides
  3. Fight for the right to test strategies and ideas quickly (things move too fast to test for a month)
  4. Connect social data to business data – whenever and wherever possible, show a correlation between marketing/PR activity and sales
  5. Warn management teams that you need to fail on certain efforts because that’s the only way to know what works and what doesn’t
  6. Approach everything with an ethical framework – don’t sell your soul to the data gods

Whether or not you agree with Buckley’s point of view, it’s hard to argue against the notion that data is a must-have for any company seeking to achieve its goals in a purposeful way. How are you using it to improve your marketing focus?


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