Harris survey shows 13% drop in client PR spending

HIGHLAND PARK, IL: The 11th Thomas L. Harris/Impulse Research PR Client Survey, which is commissioned annually by top PR firms, showed that clients spent about 13% less on PR this year than they did last year. In yet more proof of the tough road PR has had to hoe this year, internal budgets remained virtually unchanged at $948,000, compared to $952,000 in 2002. Yet, external spending declined by $330,000, down to $1,229,000 in 2003.

HIGHLAND PARK, IL: The 11th Thomas L. Harris/Impulse Research PR Client Survey, which is commissioned annually by top PR firms, showed that clients spent about 13% less on PR this year than they did last year. In yet more proof of the tough road PR has had to hoe this year, internal budgets remained virtually unchanged at $948,000, compared to $952,000 in 2002. Yet, external spending declined by $330,000, down to $1,229,000 in 2003.

As was the case last year, respondents said they spent the largest chunk of their corporate communications budgets on media relations (25%, up 3% from 2002). Product media relations (16%) and internal communications (14%) followed as the next biggest budget items.

Overall spending declined for most PR and public affairs activities in 2003, particularly in product media communications, which was reduced by an average of $165,000 (3%) from 2002. Government relations was the only area where participants reported an increase, up an average of $11,000 (2%) from 2002.

The Thomas L. Harris/Impulse Research PR Client Survey is conducted via direct mail. This year, questionnaires were sent to 2,807 communications professionals, and 1,263, or 45%, responded. Forty percent of respondents were VP level or above, and 51% said they were involved in managing their companies' brands.

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