NEW YORK: In a new world shaped by TiVo, marketers are increasingly looking beyond the 30-second TV ad and into the realm of PR, according to the second PRWeek/MS&L Marketing Management Survey. However, the findings also show this opportunity for PR agencies is in danger of being wasted.
Fifty-eight percent of the 346 CMOs, VPs of marketing, and brand managers polled were spending more time than a year ago on seeking advertising alternatives that included building buzz/word of mouth (the top answer), targeting influentials, grassroots marketing, and media relations. But only 12% said they would seek a PR firm to help them explore these options, despite the fact that these disciplines have a strong foundation in PR. Consulting companies were seen as the leading choice for such advice.
"This really shows the opportunity that PR firms have to change how marketing managers think about us," said Lou Capozzi, CEO of MS&L.
PR is now the number-one choice for strategy development, a finding that many PR pros will applaud as the result of years of hard work.
Many of the survey's results were shaped not only by changing opinions of PR, but also by a decline in the popularity of advertising and a rise in direct marketing's perceived worth. PR remained by far the most stable discipline in terms of how it was used in the marketing mix, which shouldn't tempt PR firms to rest on their laurels, says Mike Marino, MS&L's director of creative and strategic development.
"Clients have locked in PR and are already using it the way it should be used," says Marino. "People are relying on us consistently, but it's time to lever-age that into more important assignments."
Indeed, with 54% of respondents saying that PR was underused in their marketing mix - while an improvement on last year's 63% - it's clear that it is nowhere near the saturation point.
To download the PDF of this survey, click here.