Barry has long experience in the PR game and has been CEO of AMEC for the past eleven years so his perspective and global outlook should be taken very seriously. He's traveled the world being an ambassador for best practice in communications and evaluation and has probably the best overview of how the landscape is changing.
The piece that jumps out at me and which I constantly discuss with the business, our clients and with prospects is data. I absolutely agree with Barry's point about it being a key agenda item these days. More and more of our clients start conversations with the data question. Having the right insights, the right analysis and using this intelligently is now table stakes when it comes to world class consultancy.
Like many, I am bored of the AVE discussion and now refer to it "as the three letter acronym that shall not be named". It's all but disappeared and like a certain famous Dark Lord, we must all work together to ensure it does not regenerate and reappear.
And with AI now on the agenda; an increased demand for data as part of communications; more discussion than ever about tying communications to business outcomes; and an increasingly educated cohort of practitioners, I see nothing but positives for measurement in 2018.
2018 will be the “Year of AI”, with its capacity to automate PR tasks but also in the way AI can be used to analyse and code data at scale. 2018 will see the continued decline of AVEs to a tipping-point beyond which AVEs will lose any remaining credibility. We have major markets still to win over, notably Latin America and Asia Pacific but we are on our way with new guidance such as the AMEC Integrated Evaluation Framework (IEF) to effectively end the debate. Expect to see a continued drive towards measuring the contribution of comms to business outcomes – which with its focus on more sophisticated data points will highlight the need for even more data science skills.