2004 Corporate Survey reports budgets up for in-house PR pros

NEW YORK: PR budgets are on the rise, according to this year's PRWeek Corporate Survey, although in-house communications pros are still very much in the position of having to do more for less.

NEW YORK: PR budgets are on the rise, according to this year's PRWeek Corporate Survey, although in-house communications pros are still very much in the position of having to do more for less.

More than half - 55% - of the 409 survey respondents said that their overall PR budgets had risen over last year's. The rises, however, were small - 5% for almost a quarter of those whose budgets had risen, and a 10% increase for 13.8% of that group.

Interviews with a number of corporate communications execs confirmed that today's in-house PR departments have raised their status to such a level that they are relied on for more - while coping with smaller resources.

Staffing levels, for example, had not changed for 54% of the respondents, and of the 34% who indicated an increase in professional staff, 18.8% had added only one more member.

But these people are working hard to demonstrate their value to management. This year's survey delves deeper into corporate communications pros' opinions of various measurement methods. The greatest number of respondents praised media-content analysis (22.7%) and general business results (20.2%) as "most effective" on a scale of 1 to 5 (with 5 being "most effective").

Combining the votes for least effective and second least effective method, advertising equivalency came off worst, with 46.1% saying it was low in efficacy. The much-maligned media-impressions tally also proved its unpopularity to 30.9%.

That's not to say that these methods didn't have their supporters, but the more sophisticated media measures, such as media-content analysis, rated much higher.

The survey also showed that PR agencies need to be on alert, with the news that nearly one third (30%) of respondents are planning to review their PR agencies this year. The steady rise of the role of procurement was on display too: 30% of these reviews will use the client company's purchasing department.

  • See Corporate Survey here.

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