I recently had a “talk ’em off the ledge” conversation with a young friend who has just passed the half-year mark with a big-city PR firm. She had targeted this particular firm because its focus and client mix mirrored what she had been passionate about in college, and she dove in with enthusiasm.
But, as those of us who have “been around the block” a few times know so well, nothing’s perfect, especially when it comes to working for a living, which I’ve talked about before.
Disclosure: Heidi Sullivan, who is featured in this post, works for Cision, which is an SBC client. However, Heidi is also a very good friend, and our friendship long pre-dates SBC’s and Cision’s business relationship. So there.
AVEs rear their ugly head
The other day, a friend of mine pinged me into a Facebook conversation about whether or not PR pros should use AVEs when measuring their work. Now, I’ve ranted so much about AVEs, I feel I’ve said all I have to say about it… but of course, I couldn’t resist.
So I expounded a bit – just a bit, mind you – and as the conversation proceeded, I had cause to scroll up and down the comments. And one that left me absolutely gobsmacked was when someone said it put a monetary value on our work, that is often greater than what we get paid.
There is a dangerous idea being shared in marketing, community management, and start-up circles in San Francisco – “Growth Hacking.”
According to Neil Patel, the history of the term comes from a successful Silicon Valley executive who helped organizations achieve substantial growth specifically in acquiring a user base. However, this version of the story neglects to mention the long-term life-cycle of the companies and how complex successful communications programs really are.
There is no mention of whether this style of growth worked for the organizations to really achieve what they’re looking for. There is no mention of which specific companies have employed this approach successfully, nor analysis of the return on investment, customer retention, or perception data.
The term seems to be applied as an umbrella for a range of Internet skills and tools, from social media engagement, to measuring site traffic, to content site partnerships. Using social media and Internet tools to amass a huge user base can create as many problems as it solves, because engaging with lots of people means more stake-holders, each of whom bring their own expectations to the table.