A majority of clients say they allocate over 10 per cent of their
public affairs spend to research and evaluation, with research taking
the lion’s share, according to a PR Week straw poll of clients and
agencies with public affairs accounts.
The poll questioned five in-house public affairs departments and five
public affairs agencies.
Consultants estimated their clients spent more on pre-campaign research
and planning than on evaluation. Little is spent on evaluation, because
a large part of public affairs work involves lobbying Government and the
success or failure of such campaigns is evaluated against the extent to
which Government policy is changed.
Standards of research and development across the industry were viewed by
clients as acceptable or poor. Four out of five clients said their
organisation would increase its public affairs spend if they had more
conclusive proof of its effectiveness.
On the agency side, research and evaluation formed part of the pitch in
four out of five cases. Audience research emerged as the most popular
measurement tool. Four in five consultancies recommended audience
The poll also revealed that public bodies allocated more to research and
development than private companies - up to 33 per cent.