A strong communications plan not only incorporates a variety tactics to achieve the desired outcomes but, equally important, it includes key performance indicators (KPIs) for measuring success.

These KPIs are set based on the goals you seek to achieve with your plan. Some may be straight forward such as promoting an upcoming event. KPIs may include the number of visits to your website or social media pages promoting the event, the amount of engagement on social media posts, ticket sales and, of course, attendance at the event. 

Others can be much more nuanced and challenging to measure. For instance, if your plan is to reduce drug abuse through an awareness and education campaign, what metrics will you use to determine success? Will your results be based on the reduction in the number of hospitalizations, overdoses and arrests? Will it include a decrease in drug availability? How about overall knowledge and awareness in the community? And, how accessible is the information to gather?

All of these are measurable but, as you see, they are much more difficult to track than the number of tickets sold or event attendance.

While the two are completely separate examples, one thing both have in common is the importance of having a baseline measurement to determine success. After all, you can’t measure success unless you have something to measure it against. That means it’s vital to not only create a clearly defined set of metrics but to understand what the baseline is for each metric.

This takes research. In some cases, a lot of research depending upon your business and what your goals are, especially if they are not as tangible as website visits or the amount of product sold. You may need to do focus groups or some type of polling to establish the baseline.

These metrics not only provide a valuable tool for identifying success or not, they also help you and / or your team stay focused on the goal. And, by monitoring the metrics regularly, you can adjust your tactics and messaging as needed to ensure a positive outcome. 

As they say, “The proof is in the pudding” and the pudding for any communications plan is the KPIs.