In the survey, 50 per cent of senior marketers at IT firms said the CEO was actively involved not only in the appointment of a PR agency but also in the ongoing management of the relationship.
Significantly, 65 per cent of respondents said their firm had increased its investment in PR as a proportion of marketing spend, citing return on investment as an important differentiator from advertising.
The study involved in-depth interviews with senior marketers at 100 major IT firms, 80 of which were either listed on the London Stock Exchange or the Nasdaq in New York.
‘PR is coming up in terms of spend and advertising is decreasing. PR is taking an increasing share of the budget among IT firms,’ said Ilona Hitel, vice-president of marketing at Lewis PR, which commissioned the survey. She added that the survey highlighted how important evaluation of PR has been to the IT sector in recent years.
Hitel said the results pointed strongly to the increasing strategic importance of public relations to the IT industry as agencies gain greater access to boardrooms when counselling clients.
As well as the increasing share of marketing spend attracted by PR, Hitel said the survey indicated a mood lift in the IT industry after three to four years of widespread marketing budget cutbacks.