There is no shortage of information about PR agencies, but statistical data on the client side is hard to come by. PRWeek aims to change all that, and the process starts today with the publication of the first-ever PRWeek/BSMG Corporate Survey 2000 (see p25). Here are 10 conclusions that we may draw from the survey:
There is no shortage of information about PR agencies, but
statistical data on the client side is hard to come by. PRWeek aims to
change all that, and the process starts today with the publication of
the first-ever PRWeek/BSMG Corporate Survey 2000 (see p25). Here are 10
conclusions that we may draw from the survey:
1. PR budgets are growing at above average rates, but at 6.9%, it’s not
as fast across the board as it is among the biggest accounts (at the top
agencies) which have traditionally skewed the figures.
2. PR’s commanding a larger slice of the marketing budget, up from 17.1%
last year to 18.6%.
3. It’s a global economy, stupid: the top PR position is global in an
amazing 45.1% of cases.
4. There is plenty of business out there for agencies. As well as the
6.9% predicted growth in PR budgets, 34% of corporate clients do not
currently employ a PR firm. And of those that do, 17.7% intend to switch
to a new agency, with a further 26.6% undecided.
5. Despite all the talk about poor writing and the unavailability of
senior staff, the biggest problem so far as the client is concerned is
unexpected costs, cited by 38.5% of clients.
6. It’s often not possible to identify corporate PR pros by their job
title. As the Corporate Survey shows, in 27% of cases, PR as a function
is likely to come under the aegis of a marketing or marketing
communications department rather than a corporate communications or PR
department. We even found that in an astonishing 4.5% of cases, the head
of PR reports to the head of human resources. Keeping track of PR as a
profession - and as a business - is a job in itself, and creates a
challenge for all agencies touting for new business. As the duties and
the interests of the PR officer widen, it’s likely that business will
continue to come from unexpected quarters.
7. Despite all the hype about the money-making potential of the
Internet, in little more than 9% of cases is the company Web site used
for e-commerce. In the majority of cases (a staggering 80%) it’s
primarily a communications tool.
8. The Web is a great opportunity for PR agencies (see seven). Yet the
survey also shows that only 24.5% of corporate PR professionals would
even consider using PR agencies to provide the Web services they need.
This suggests that PR agencies do not possess the necessary Web skills
to advise on content.
9. There’s not enough money going into research. While PR pros pay lip
service to its importance, only 3% of PR budgets are allocated to
evaluating PR programs. To put that in context, that means that out of a
PR budget of dollars 1 million, the average company spends just dollars
30,000 on research. Is it any wonder that ad value equivalencies (AVEs)
are still so fashionable (see p18).
10. There’s not enough money going into PR, period. While its share of
the marketing budget creeps slowly upwards, it still represents an
average of 0.08% of revenue, while at the same time its responsibilities
and interests and the demands on it increase to unrealistic levels.
Senior corporate executives are short-changing their communications
efforts through inadequate resourcing.