The Missing Link in Measurement: Knowing the Whos, Whats and Hows Is Essential to Communication Planning Research

By Anderson, Forrest W. | Communication World, January-February 2013 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

The Missing Link in Measurement: Knowing the Whos, Whats and Hows Is Essential to Communication Planning Research


Anderson, Forrest W., Communication World


What troubles me about the research and measurement discussion today is that practitioners and researchers focus almost exclusively on evaluation rather than on planning.

I got into communication research because, early in my career, I found myself writing strategies for communication programs. I had an MBA and was good at linking communication goals to business goals. However, while I had, or could divine, the business goals of prospects and clients, there was a dearth of other information on which to base a good communication campaign.

For example, I rarely had a good definition of who the stakeholder group was. And even if I did, I had virtually no information about these people. What were their interests? What issues mattered to them? Why would they care about my client's product, service or proposition? And, very important for communication, what media did they use, and how? That is, what was the context in which they used specific media? What kind of information did they expect? Consider the difference between what you expect to see in a trade magazine, a hometown weekly newspaper, or a website or blog.

What's more, I rarely had very much information about the client or prospect. What were their written goals? What were the unwritten goals? These, frequently, are more important than the written ones. What was the client's business model, and how did the company make money? This is a critical question whether the organization is for-profit or not-for-profit--all organizations live on cash. I always found it much easier to understand the motivations of the organization and its leaders if I understood how the money flowed. What were the organization's business challenges? what was its competitive set? How was it managing the competition?

The final neglected body of knowledge necessary to put together a good communication program was information about the business environment. I was very fortunate in my studies at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University to take a class called Management and Its Environment, taught by Dr.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

The Missing Link in Measurement: Knowing the Whos, Whats and Hows Is Essential to Communication Planning Research
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?