This week’s poll of consultancies and clients has produced the most
surprising results of the Proof campaign so far. It indicates that
non-FMCG consumer PR clients spend only two per cent of their PR budgets
on research and evaluation.
PR budgets in this area tend to be higher so one would expect R&E to
account for a smaller proportion of the total, but industry guidelines
recommend that even the biggest PR budgets should allocate between three
and five per cent to research and evaluation.
More disturbingly, the agencies questioned said only half their clients
in this category spend anything at all on R&E. Yet marketing
communications is the sector where such techniques are arguably the most
advanced - at least among rival marketing disciplines like advertising
and direct mail.
For their part, clients seem less worried about proving the value of
their PR activity, but would consider increasing their R&E spend if it
helped them to create a better PR programme next time round. This is
surely a cue for PR consultancies to take the initiative. PR has made
great strides in convincing marketers of its importance, but unless the
industry itself takes research and evaluation seriously it may find
itself left behind as other marketing disciplines stake their claims to
the high ground.