Interview with Margot Sinclair Savell “The Measurement Pros Behind the Power Points”

September 24th, 2014

Measurement Week AMEC Margot Savell Richard Bagnall BurrellesLuce Public Relations PR Measurement news clipping media monitoring

flickr user Randen Pedersen under CC BY

Last week was AMEC’s International Measurement Week, and to honor it, we reached out to some of the top measurement experts to get their take on measurement dos and don’ts, common mistakes, and how they found themselves a member of the Measurati. We got such an enthusiastic response that we’re extending our celebration to include all their answers. We’ll be running their answers all this week, and be sure to check out our latest newsletter for measurement insights from 11 other experts in the field.

Let’s hear from today’s featured expert, Margot Sinclair Savell, SVP of global measurement at Research+Data Insights, Hill+Knowlton Strategies. Savell also held a Measurement Week webinar with BurrellesLuce; you can listen to it here.

What is your “measurement moment,” the time you knew your career was becoming measurement-focused?

Almost two decades ago, I was the website manager for some major television news stations on the west coast, when I discovered how content placement impacts audience size. That’s when I first understood the value of measurement insights to drive future strategy and increase growth. I was hooked.

What is your proudest measurement moment?

Thankfully, there have been many, but the first one was winning the Cox Interactive Media award for Greatest Audience Growth at one of those TV news websites. A more recent moment was when we moved a client from measuring ad value equivalencies (AVEs) to measuring quality KPIs that reflect the impact of PR. (Details in #5 below)

What is your most important piece of measurement advice?

Follow the Barcelona Principles; measurement should always be tied to business and communications goals.

What’s the most common measurement mistake you encounter?

Over the years, I’ve frequently been asked this question: “We just had a really successful campaign; how do I measure it?” We cannot slap on measurement at the end of a campaign because we don’t have a benchmark with baseline findings to track changes over time. A meaningful measurement program should be part of every communications plan — from the beginning — and should inform decisions on a daily basis.

Tell us a breakthrough story, in which you took your client from metrics to KPIs.

Our client knew that ad value equivalencies (AVEs) do not measure the impact of public relations efforts, but her senior leadership insisted on it. We developed a monthly scorecard with several metrics, including AVEs, and also featured a quality score based on KPIs. But each month, we displayed the AVEs metric in progressively smaller font sizes, while the quality score remained larger and highlighted in a different color than the other metrics. The quality score was also accompanied by strategic insights and actionable recommendations. Over time, the senior leadership came to favor the quality score and we eliminated the AVEs.

What do you see as measurement’s biggest challenge ahead?

The biggest challenge will be measuring big data, which is very exciting.

Bonus question: You just won the lottery. What’s your dream job? 

Does retirement count?