Poll: Manufacturing firms set to up PR budgets in '05

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL: Privately held manufacturing firms plan an average increase of 38.5% in PR spending next year as their senior managers begin to better understand the value of PR, according to a new study by manufacturing PR firm TR Cutler.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL: Privately held manufacturing firms plan an average increase of 38.5% in PR spending next year as their senior managers begin to better understand the value of PR, according to a new study by manufacturing PR firm TR Cutler.

Respondents plan to cut expenditures for trade shows next year by an average of 39.9% and for print collateral material by an average of 34.5%.

Those funds will be shifted into PR spending and into web marketing, which will increase an average 30.5%, the survey found. The survey did not ask for expenditure amounts, only percentage changes.

Manufacturers plan to send out more press releases in the coming year - an average of 8.3 from September 2004 to September 2005 - compared with an average 3.1 in the prior 12-month period.

Manufacturers are increasing their internal PR staffs and using more outside PR help, the study revealed. A similar study by Cutler in 2002 found that 12% of privately owned manufacturing firms had internal PR staffs. That rose to 18% in the new survey.

Cutler found that while only 4% of privately owned manufacturers used outside PR firms in 2002, 7.2% used them this year.

The increasing use of PR by manufacturers can be attributed to a new generation of senior managers with broader educational backgrounds than their predecessors, said Thomas Cutler, president of TR Cutler.

The survey found that 31% of privately held manufacturing CEOs, presidents, and owners now have MBAs, as compared with only 18% in 2002. In the past, most senior executives came from engineering backgrounds and weren't familiar with the ability of PR to help build their brands, Cutler said.

Manufacturing CEOs today are "more well-versed. They get the efficacy of PR; they realize its part of the marketing process," he said.

Cutler surveyed 3,500 privately held manufacturing firms via e-mail in September and early October, receiving responses from 1,198 firms.

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