How can we, as public relations practitioners, get a message across to our clients, and potential clients, that speed-to-market, reach, market intelligence stakeholder engagement and objective expertise are the essence of our DNA and more importantly, essential for business success?
Interestingly, in January Advertising Age magazine predicted that public relations/crisis communications would be among the bright spots in 2009. B2B magazine also claimed that business-to-business marketers were increasingly turning to public relations for support even as overall budgets are being reduced. Without seeing the data – we think this makes sense.
In 2005, Proctor & Gamble conducted a landmark study involving a marketing mix model for six of their brands over a one to three year period. P&G found the following:
§ PR drives sales, often on a par with advertising
§ PR delivers stellar ROI (275%), much greater than advertising
§ PR provides a halo effect over other marketing tactics
These findings coincide with P2R’s experience, especially with respect to public relations delivering a better return on investment and providing a halo effect. Our guess is that public relations’ greater credibility is the reason. For consumers and an ever-more news hungry population, credibility seems increasingly to be the tool-of-choice for breaking through what has become a cacophony of marketing messages. Research bears this out in yet another example.
A 2006 survey of marketers conducted by The Association of National Advertisers (ANA), ranked public relations number one in terms of its overall value to the enterprise. Additionally, The Economist magazine stated, “For business, public relations is an increasingly vital marketing tool – especially as traditional forms of advertising struggle to catch consumers’ attention.”
At P2R Associates – we’re delighted to see that what many have known for a long time is becoming a growing awareness. Three major industry publications and a marketing giant all believe that public relations holds the key to helping businesses compete and succeed in these trying economic times.
It is important that agencies trust their judgment, get back to the basics, focus on their strengths, then identify what works and move forward. We need to communicate results and show both existing and prospective clients how public relations impacts business and contributes to bottom line success – however difficult it might appear to be to do so.