Expert Q&A: Peter Wengryn, CEO of VMS

Peter Wengryn, CEO of VMS, answers questions about the company's newest offering, Vantage, which measures the ROI of PR and advertising separately and in tandem.

Peter Wengryn, CEO of VMS answers questions about the company's newest offering Vantage, which measures the ROI of PR and advertising separately and in tandem. Wengryn talks about why this measurement capability is important, what Vantage offers, and why this was the right time to introduce this service, which was more than three years in the making.

PRWeek: Vantage is focused on demonstrating ROI not just for PR but in tandem with advertising.  Why is this important?

Peter Wengryn: At VMS, years of research has demonstrated that analyzing the ROI of advertising and PR in separate silos is not as effective as the two working in tandem with each other. 

One example is Denny's Super Bowl advertising and Free Grand Slam Breakfast giveaway. Denny's [a VMS client] same-store-sales are up... as a result of advertising a free breakfast using the Super Bowl. It would be misleading to look at their $6 million ad buy and calculate ROI from that investment, just as it would tell the wrong story if we only consider the $50 million in earned media they generated from this effort. Only by looking at the combined impact of paid and earned media can we truly understand what produced the impressive ROI this effort generated.

PRWeek: Vantage is targeted to Fortune 500 companies and can come with a high price tag. What is included? And, are there options for companies that don't fall within the Fortune 500 category?

Wengryn: Vantage was developed to be scalable. While Fortune 500 companies initially are our primary focus, smaller companies will also be able to benefit from Vantage with a solution that can be cost-effective. 

The research we have done over the past 10 years has consistently shown that news coverage has a positive impact on business outcomes. But new findings looking at integrating earned and paid media show that earned media has a 10% to 20% impact on the effectiveness of paid advertising. That translates to a minimum of a $5 million to $10 million benefit for target companies with even higher benefit for companies with higher ad budgets. In any economic climate this level of benefit is of great interest, but it is especially relevant when every C-level executive is trying to get more out of every dollar they are spending.

Vantage will provide news monitoring, reporting, and analysis including a media directory and newsroom. Examples of some of the VMS solutions included in Vantage are InSight, AdSight, and RealTime. VMS consultation and hands-on analysis are included.

Most importantly, the ROI analysis can be tied back to all levels of the solution... you can now determine which media outlets or which reporters are having the most impact (good or bad) on revenues and profits. This will ultimately save the client money by dealing with one vendor and ensuring that all the data is consistent.


PRWeek: Why did you decide to launch Vantage in this economic climate?

Wengryn: We determined now was indeed a strategic time to launch Vantage. With reduced advertising and PR budgets at most institutions, a global solution was needed more than ever that would provide insights enabling these companies to generate the strongest potential impact from their diminished budgets.

We're confident Vantage can increase the ROI of company investments in advertising and PR activities by 10% or more, which can translate to savings in the millions. Our clients are proving our vision correct with early indicators showing strong demand.

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