CINCINNATI: A new internal measurement tool developed by Procter & Gamble has shown a greater ROI from PR than other marketing disciplines in four of the six brands tested.
P&G developed the tool, called PREvaluate, during 18 months of research into brands where marketing-mix modeling could be applied,said Hans Bender, manager of external relations at P&G,who was also involved in the research. It measures PR efforts in the context of other marketing efforts such as advertising.
Bender added that the tool incorporates detailed analysis, including information on cost, scope, audience, geographic markets, and possible synergy with other marketing tactics.
"When you look at what has traditionally happened in the PR world... output was judged by a quality score," he said. "Now impressions are linked to volume or sales of a product."
Looking at the successful campaigns P&G has conducted, Bender said he believed "PR could have a meaningful effect on business. "I'm delighted to have confirmation," he added.
Bender said he did not anticipate an immediate impact on PR spending, but that it would "make people think more intently about the use of PR in the marketing mix."
Liz Van Lenten, an MD in Burson-Marsteller's brand marketing practice, views the development as a "stamp of approval" for PR. "Our corporate clients will see this as a good thing," she added.
She also noted that given P&G's leadership role in the industry, it could eventually lead to an increase in PR spending from other companies. "We're always trying to convince clients that you have to spend money to make money,"she said."This kind of thing will help."
Measurement experts agreed that P&G's use of marketing mix
modeling to prove ROI for PR, while not a new concept, represents a big endorsement for the industry.
David Rockland, global director of research at Ketchum, said marketing-mix modeling has been a mainstay of advertising for years. Bringing PR into the mix helps to attain the "Holy Grail" of ROI. "PR is catching up as a marketing discipline because it's finally able to measure itself the way other marketing disciplines do," he said. "Any company that is spending in excess of $1 million on PR ought to make the investment to figure it out."
Andrew Bernstein, CEO of Cymfony,believes P&G's news will have a huge impact on the PR industry.
"It's nice to have one of the leading research-driven... consumer goods companies get behind this," he said. "This is the 1,000-pound gorilla ? when they say something, a lot of people will listen."
Measurement provider Delahaye provided PR data during
the tool's development.