Remember in-person conferences? Networking, packed panel rooms, evening awards dinners? Me neither.

Thankfully, AMEC has come as close as one can with another jam-packed conference, run online for the second year due to the pandemic. If anything, there seems to be even more content than in previous years – so much so that attendees can continue to watch back sessions now that the event has closed.

So what to take away from this year’s Summit: Planning, Purpose and Proof?

New resources and training

Whether you’re a measurement specialist, a planning geek or an account manager – understanding the fundamentals of how data can be used to plan and evaluate content and campaigns is a crucial skill.

This year AMEC launched two new initiatives. The first, a new suite of planning resources for agencies of all sizes, I had the pleasure to lead. The AMEC Planning Resource section now includes advice on everything from identifying your audience through to drafting your creative strategy, as well as a helpful AMEC Planning worksheet for bringing it all together. (I’ll be writing more about my experience of chairing the AMEC working group, and what we built, on this blog.)

The second, the AMEC Foundation Course in Measurement and Evaluation offers something for everyone – from seasoned professionals to recent graduates. Offered on-demand, “the programme sets the basics, fills in the gaps, and ultimately helps learners to feel more confident when dealing with measurement and evaluation.” Better act fast if you want to get in as a free beta tester – the course will be free for those individuals in June ahead of a formal July launch.

This is about more than just measurement

Keenly pointed out by colleague Michael Maybury, this year’s conference featured more sessions on broader research than ever before. And it’s no wonder – as data continues its march into all things comms, AMEC is seeking to bring more experts into the fold.

It made for an exciting programme, with sessions ranging from topics tackling internal communications measurement to research into D,E&I in public relations and the cleverly titled “Trust & Expectations in a Time of Covid”.

The event also featured a session with Ben Page, chief executive of IPSOS Mori, on how research can help PR maximise the impact of communications. Which ties neatly into the final trend to consider…

As an industry, we’re getting closer to (real) proof

At H+K, we’ve spoken separately about the importance of augmented analytics and how they are a game-changer for research and evaluation. The impact of these technologies – as well as tried and true methodologies – was apparent throughout many of the sessions at this year’s conference.

While all organisations are at a different point in their measurement journey, some are taking the next step forward and tying more concretely activity through to action. This came through in the session with traditional partners such as IPSOS as well as in novel applications of behavioural science to digital campaign design and measurement.

But we are also seeing it in more novel applications of technology, such as the fascinating research shared by Commetric and Opoint on creating real reach figures for digital press coverage, or a presentation on attribution from Omnicom PR Group. It’s something we’re also fortunate to be exploring with our sister agencies through WPP Open, which brings together the best of WPP’s data offerings under one roof.

It’s been another fantastic AMEC Summit, and I’d love to hear more about what you found interesting – do get in touch!