Should Firms Create Their Own Analytics Systems?

We just caught up on news about the launch of AirPR‘s new analytics platform, which earned coverage on TechCrunch and other blogs. It’s a “marketplace” designed to prove the value of PR services, especially to startups that often blame a lack of momentum and media interest on their firms.

Stereotype alert: it makes a lot of sense because most founders are obsessed with data, and if you can’t show them the numbers then they might ask “what am I paying you for, again?”

AirPR’s initial goal is to sell its product to startup CMOs and contribute to the “much-needed conversation around PR measurement“, but many have mentioned that other firms themselves could soon fall into that target demographic due to the increasing demand for numbers. That fact begs the question: should firms in general—especially those specializing in startups—create their own in-house analytics tools rather than buying them from outside providers?

This brought us back to a guest post on our blog by Leslie Campisi of HotwirePR in which she laid out the reasons behind the firm’s development of its own “Listening Post” platform.

As she put it:

“…if you believe data has a big role to play in the future of PR…why would you be satisfied with letting others crack the nut?”

Hotwire’s platform is more internal than AirPR’s: it was designed to target clients’ stories for maximum impact by identifying the most influential voices in a given area, and the firm does not intend to sell it to either clients or outsiders. The two stories provide a glimpse at the different ways in which firms are tackling the data challenge.

Data is not PR’s primary concern, and it never will be; we don’t crunch numbers, we tell stories.

But this movement might make the real-world value of the work a little clearer to all the skeptics out there.

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