During day two of the AMEC summit, Hotwire’s group chief development officer, Andy West, discussed what his business needs for aligning measurement practice.
West said that Hotwire is a “mid-sized company” despite its international reach, with the largest office consisting of 60 people and five staff in its smallest. So, measurement sits “within” the organisation and Hotwire often has to run its own training.
He noted three main reasons for people being “afraid” of getting to grips with measurement; they are afraid of numbers, they lack knowledge and there is a lack of leadership in this area.
Here are his quick tips for overcoming these issues:
Hire graduates who are comfortable with numbers
West said PR has a problem in this area – it has been hiring graduates from the arts for a long time, who pride themselves on being creative and are great communicators. He argues that the industry needs a ‘new breed’ of graduate that can also understand “the numbers”.
“We are starting to look at different sorts of entrants in our organisation that bring different skills. One of the things that excites me is the possible ability for our business to attract graduates who would have gone into management consulting or accounting, data scientists or behavioural psychologists. With the size of our business, we don’t have those specialities.”
Champion the importance of measurement education
Hotwire hires around 10 graduates every year. However, West said he fails to see many graduates coming into the industry who are passionate about data, despite being reassured that it’s part of university curriculums.
He said: “One of the things I’ve spoken about previously at conferences is education within universities, that are churning out these PR graduates. I still haven’t necessarily seen [knowledge of data] with the intakes that we have and the professionals we are hiring. That’s got to change.
“I’d love to see a higher number of graduates coming into the organisation and really challenging us as managers and really testing us with the latest academic techniques that they’ve been taught.”
Use the leadership messages from AMEC and share them
West said he would like to see the leadership that has been shown at this year’s AMEC summit reflected in the industry.
He added: “One of the things that’s struck me over the last 36 hours is the amazing leadership that the panels have shown in driving forward measurement and inside agenda with organisations. I think they are truly inspirational. If we can go out and share that message as agencies and PR professionals show that leadership, I’m certain we can take this topic forward and truly make metrics matter.”