Budgets are up, but Hispanic marcomms still underfunded

The survey includes insights from Hispanic industry professionals across agencies, clients, and media.

NEW YORK: The vast majority of Hispanic PR, marketing, and media professionals feel the industry is underfunded, but they say budgets have shifted toward supporting PR initiatives, according to a study.

The State of Hispanic PR industry survey was conducted by the Hispanic Public Relations Association in partnership with AHAA: The Voice of Hispanic Marketing. It surveyed 182 Hispanic-focused industry professionals, 71% of which were PR agency practitioners, 19% on the client and marketing side, and 10% in the media.

Among those at agencies, 91% said they feel Hispanic PR is underfunded, yet 80% claimed they’re seeing budgets increase to support public relations. Only 8% of PR practitioners have seen a decrease in budgets, and 88% noted an increase in funds for video development assets.

Ninety-three percent of PR agency respondents said the industry has made progress in integrating Hispanic PR into brands’ overall marketing strategy, explained Andy Checo, president of the Hispanic Public Relations Association National Board.

Only 5% of PR practitioners said their client considers social media part of the marketing function, he said.

"There’s been a debate about where social media belongs – marketing or PR – and a lot of practitioners who took this survey said their clients think social media belongs in PR," Checo added.

Additionally, 31% of Hispanic clients and marketers said they handle PR in-house, while 65% share PR responsibilities with agencies.

Nearly half (49%) of client-side execs said their PR function reports into marketing, and 40% said comms is an independent department. However, 11% stated that although PR acts independently, it is funded by the marketing department.

More than half (54%) of clients and marketers claimed to be investing more in PR, citing social media and content marketing as main reasons for spending additional money on the function. Also, 63% of clients said top management believes Hispanic PR efforts will contribute to the organization, but 37% think senior executives feel it’s just a box to check.

Checo noted that more than 70% of the PR professionals who participated in the survey have eight-plus years in the Hispanic market.

In Hispanic media, 82% of journalists said they interact with PR pros on a typical day, while 41% view PR pros as a resource for relevant content. Fifty-nine percent of journalists said traditional press releases need to evolve to include more visual content, and 7% of media respondents cited language issues in a release as a barrier to them publishing a story.

Almost all media members in the study (94%) said they use social media to research consumer and business trends and promote their stories.

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