Professional services firms are shedding their media-shy image and
investing in PR, but many still fail to measure the benefits.
These are the findings of a survey undertaken by Specialist PR firm
Kelso Consulting and the Professional Marketing Forum, a spin-off of
Professional Marketing magazine.
The survey shows that, of the 46 firms which responded, 32 per cent
started using PR agencies for the first time from the start of 1996, and
50 per cent started between 1990 and 1995. Firms of actuaries,
engineers, surveyors, architects, accountants and lawyers, management
and IT consultants took part in the survey.
According to the survey, around 80 per cent of professional services
firms consider public relations as more important than or as equally
important as other marketing activities.
Just over half of the firms surveyed employ in-house PR staff and 76 per
cent use outside agencies.
However, only 60 per cent of firms have a formal written strategy. While
70 per cent do some evaluation, most simply look at the volume and
content of coverage and neglect to measure whether PR has enhanced their
’It does make me wonder how they evaluate people’s performance,’ said
Tim Prizeman, a Kelso director. ’You can’t run your most important
profile-raising activity on an ongoing basis on gut feel.’
Prizeman claims it is the big five accounting firms who are at the more
sophisticated end of the survey. Last year’s spate of mergers and near
mergers in the sector has prompted the first blanket attempts at