Trylon Communications  - June 2004

Marketers Relying On PR

A recent survey completed by PRWeek points out the fact that more marketers are looking for PR to help cut through the advertising clutter to reach consumers. An indication of the shift from advertising to PR is the statement from 63% of the respondents that they are exploring word of mouth as an alternative to television ads.

The survey, comprised of 346 CMOs, VPs, directors of marketing and brand managers, revealed that over half of the executives (54%) believe that PR is underutilized in their current marketing mix.

Another important finding was that PR agencies scored higher on ROI measurement than any other type of agency, including direct marketing. This was at least partially attributable to the fact that during the economic downturn agencies have had to provide solid ROI metrics to receive a share of the marketing budget.

A surprise was that while 81% of the executives surveyed believed that PR firms were capable of working on strategic branding, only 46% reported that these firms were actually working on strategic branding initiatives.

As expected, PR is crucial to developing and maintaining a corporate reputation. The survey did find, however, that there are many areas of opportunity for PR firms to help companies that are not being explored.

For instance, while most marketers equate PR with media relations, there are significant alternative opportunities that are underutilized. One example is the targeting of “influentials” for word of mouth, grassroots marketing.

Another is targeting niche audiences, an area in which executives only use PR 9% of the time. While direct marketing owns this area, the fact that media has become so fragmented offers PR strategists new opportunities to reach highly segmented niche markets.

To see the results of the survey and the PRWeek analysis, click here.