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CommsConXInsights: “We will always need people to make sense of data”: Timo Thomann-Rompf

“You need to have the talent and the tools working in conjunction to get the best insights”. This is how Timo Thomann-Rompf, CCO of Cision Insights, began his keynote speech at CommsCon X Insights last week.

Despite presenting a string of technical and AI-driven innovations that can help transform media measurement, attendees were left in no doubt that true insights still demands the right combination of both technology and people.

Having discussed the obstacles that PR and communications teams often face, including ‘vanity metrics’, the shrinking journalist pool, and the reliance on text in a visual society, Timo moved onto the importance of data driven decision making. Here, he introduced Cision’s plan for Earned Media Management, which represents “the unification of technology, data, processes, and analysis to modernise the communications function from an expense into a business driver”.

We all know that planning a comms campaign starts with identifying and connecting with the right influencers. However, with an expanding choice of mediums and channels, how do we go about making sure we can reach the right audience and influencers? How can we connect all the players within the ‘earned media ecosystem’ and reach the end-consumer to drive business value?

According to Timo, the answer to this conundrum lies in Cision Impact, the software that allows us to track the true reach of earned media content, segment its audiences and understand their onward activities.

But while new technological innovations may drive new forms of measurement, Timo was emphatic that “We will always need people to make sense of the data. I am a strong believer of the power of people”. Indeed, many technological advances merely enhance the efficiency of communications research, for example reducing the man hours required to accurately tag themes, topics and entities within a content set.

Thus, “at the moment, analysts are human-coding coverage. In the future, they will train the system to measure metrics for them”. The integration of artificial intelligence into the workplace was the overriding theme of the day, but Timo made that this integration will in the end be powered by people.

While incorporating data into the heart of PR activity represents a potentially daunting step for many, it was apparent throughout the keynote that if approached in the right way the technology offers great benefits to communicators who need to know whether their messages are reaching and resonating with target audiences.

This blend of the art of PR and the science of measurement ought to be a truly empowering tool to transform the way communicators understand and speak to their audiences.