Those in public relations are now being asked for tangible numbers to prove their effectiveness.
The age of ambiguous promises from public relations agencies is long gone. Following the evolution of advertising agencies being required to provide a tangible return on investment, Public Relations companies are now being asked to do the same. Many businesses are requiring agencies to move toward a results-based contract versus and open ended agreement based solely on defined activities.
If you’re planning on working with a Public Relations firm, or plan to manage your own public relations team, there are a few simple guidelines you should follow to insure that you’re getting your money’s worth:
- Number of Media Contacts per X – Come to terms with the level of contact your agency should be having with media on a regular basis. How many reporters have they pitched in a given week? Although this measure isn’t specifically focused on results, you’ll get a strong sense of activity being put forth.
- Number of Editors Considering a Story – Based on the number of media contacts and the level of engagement shown during the initial pitch, how many editors are considering a story related to your specified topic/company? There will most likely be those editors who are not interested, others who are considering a story, and those who are likely to move forward.
- Number of Articles Published – What are the total number of mentions that the agency can deliver in a given week or month. There should be a specific goal created that aligns with your public relations objectives. Be sure to consider all mentions regardless of media used (newspaper, Internet, Radio, Television, etc.)
You can clearly see that choosing a public relations agency, or taking on a public relations effort on your own terms, should have clear objectives and measurement defined early on. Reporting against these pre-defined measurements can help you identify where your public relations efforts are compared to the overall objectives you’re trying to reach.
According to a recent MarketingScoop.com online survey, marketing professionals are “Not Very Confident” in their ability to measure a return on investment for their marketing campaigns. These survey results come at a time when the importance of measuring ROI has grown significantly for the marketing community.
When asked, “How confident are you in your ability to measure the ROI of your marketing campaigns?” fully 47% of respondents indicated that they were “not very confident” while a smaller percentage (22%) indicated they were “somewhat confident”. This leaves 31% of respondents who indicated that they were very confident in their ability to measure the productivity of their marketing campaigns.
“The pressure being placed on marketing professionals to deliver a positive return on investment is greater than ever “, say’s MarketingScoop.com founder Michael Fleischner . “Internet marketing has improved the marketing professional’s ability to measure his/her return, but clearly we still have some gaps with our ability to measure return with some traditional media that need to be addressed.”
Additional surveys will be conducted among marketing professionals to evaluate the emergence of trends indicating a marketing professional’s ability to measure the financial returns of marketing expenditures. This information is growing in importance as new marketing methods evolve and traditional methods, including standard online advertising, come under scrutiny.
About Marketing Scoop, LLC
Marketing Scoop, LLC is a leading provider of online resources for marketing professionals. With operational headquarters in Robbinsville, NJ, marketing scoop employs a variety of marketing professionals across numerous disciplines including; advertising, direct marketing, Internet marketing, market research, marketing strategy, search engine optimization, public relations, and trade-shows & events.
Forty-Six Percent of Marketing Professionals Working More than Fifty Hours per Week!
According to a recent survey by MarketingScoop.com, the Internets premier source of marketing tools, information, and resources, 46% of marketing professional report working more than fifty hours per week. 35% percent of survey respondents reported working between forty and fifty hours per week and less than 20% reported working fewer than forty hours in a week.
“With the increasing pressure for marketing professionals to deliver a positive ROI, and the fact that many marketing departments have seen a reduction in staffing levels, its no surprise that today’s marketing professional is working longer hours than in previous years,” notes Michael Fleischner, of MarketingScoop.com.
The two-week survey conducted on marketingscoop.com shows that the majority of marketing professionals, fully 81.3% of those who participated, are working more than forty-hours per week. A little more than ten percent (10.4%) indicated a work week between thirty and forty hours – closer to what has been commonly referred to as a traditional work week.
About Marketing Scoop, LLC
Marketing Scoop, LLC is a leading provider of online resources for marketing professionals. With operational headquarters in Robbinsville, NJ, marketing scoop employs a variety of marketing professionals across numerous disciplines including; advertising, direct marketing, internet marketing, market research, marketing strategy, tradeshows & events.
More Coming Soon! (it’s been much to long)
Marketing Blog Directory Launched
MarketingScoop.com has launched its very own Marketing Blog Directory to help those interested in marketing find blogs related to specific marketing topics.
March 30, 2009
Marketing Professionals Working Longer
Marketing professionals working longer according to a recent marketingscoop.com survey.
March 30, 2006
Marketing Professionals Not Confident In ROI
Based on a recent marketingscoop.com survey, marketing professionals are not confident in their ability to measure ROI.
February 28, 2006
SAFELINK Program Advocates the End of Email SPAM
Marketing Scoop, LLC. launches advocacy program to End Email SPAM!
November 22, 2005
Marketing Scoop Launches Website
Marketing Scoop launches website to provide online resources for marketing professionals.
September 30, 2005
Learn the lessons of crisis management through a fictitious company and public relations crisis.
The companies, names and situations discussed here are purely fictitious. The marketing and legal information is real. If your company does not have a crisis communications plan in place–one that includes input from your legal and marketing advisors, including public relations–the time is now to develop a plan. Tomorrow may be too late.
Jones Natural Products 14-hour emergency meeting last month wasn’t about layoffs, sales collapsing or any other textbook business challenge.
Top executives and board members met because Ray Jones, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Jones Natural Products, Inc., the California-based company, had been arrested for allegedly raping a 12-year-old girl he met via the Internet and for allegedly using the Internet to engage a minor in sexual relations in another incident.
While personally stunned by the news, officials of the dietary supplement firm knew the accusations against the high-ranking individual could put the whole company in a negative light.
For companies whose identities are intertwined with a high-profile executive, managing crises is the key to survival. Though Jones had stopped overseeing daily operations for the company, he was a voice for Jones Natural Products, often providing expertise about political and marketing issues to investors and the media at industry conferences.
“There are only two facts that are relevant to the media and the public market–Was the company involved, and how will the future of the company be affected?” said Harry Black, principal of Black and Black, a Chicago-based public relations firm.
In an era where news travels fast, companies must act quickly and decisively to get their side of the story told. “If they get all the information out quickly, the story ends sooner than if they said nothing,” Black said.
Companies that stall, stonewall or deliver conflicting messages, such as Bridgestone/Firestone and its recent defective tires, or Exxon and the 1989 oil spill from its tanker Valdez, can worsen the situation, communications experts say.
In cases like Jones’, where the matter is unrelated to the company’s products or operations, management should still strive to be open and candid to draw a sharp distinction between the individual involved and the business.
Compounding matters, this supposed incident occurred just a week before one of the biggest deal-making trade shows of the year, Natural Products Expo East in Washington, D.C., where the company would have to face questions from its peers, potential financial backers and customers.
After learning about the arrest that day, Jones’ president Charlie Stone headed straight to the office, where he got on the telephone with board members to gauge their support and get their advice.
Stone, a longtime colleague of Jones at ABC Vitamins before they left to co-found Jones Natural Products in 1998, spent the rest of the day and evening on the telephone with key investors, as well as company managers, who would inform their workers of the arrest. He wanted to alert the employees before the news broke.
On Saturday, the company’s executives and the board derived a strategy, such as creating answers to frequently asked questions for customers and employees, instituting daily meetings, bringing in crisis counselors and catering lunch to encourage discussion among workers.
The next day, Jones’ management held a company-wide meeting with its 87 employees. Stone, who was named CEO after Jones was arrested, assured them that the board and investors remained behind the company.
“Of course, the arrest would be a distraction,” Stone told an anxious crowd, “but other companies have gone through this type of situation and still continued to flourish.”
The message then, and repeated still, was that the incident was a personal matter, not a company issue, which Stone conveyed to employees, customers and investors.
Jack Smith, chief operating officer of Healthy Life Inc., a Canadian company that invested in Jones’ $29 million round of funding, said his first reaction to the news was sympathy toward Jones and the other managers, rather than worrying about the bottom line. But he was confident they could handle the problem.
“I knew it would be a management distraction, but that’s what management does,” Smith said. “Life is full of distractions, and this is a nasty one.”
As much as companies develop game plans for natural disasters or workplace accidents, officials should also determine a plan of action should an executive become embroiled in illegal activities, crises and other public relations nightmares, advisers say.
However, getting management to play “what if” about a prominent member of their team can be difficult. “They think, if we don’t imagine it, it won’t happen,” said Sam Johnson, Crisis Communications Inc. vice president.
Regardless, management must reassure investors and customers that they are taking action, experts say. For example, companies should find out as much as possible about the case from the suspect’s attorney and conduct their own investigation into whether company equipment or property was involved. An organization could expose itself to liability if an executive engages in misconduct using business equipment or facilities.
Through an investigation, a company can better avoid surprises and prevent similar accidents by developing workplace policies and emergency plans. That way, officials can reassure investors that they have control over their business and can help eliminate culpability.
Jones officials are discussing whether they will conduct an internal investigation. The company would not comment on the case.
A crisis can show a company at its best or its worst, and being candid and open with investors, workers, customers and the media can go a long way in weathering the storm. This is an attractive feature from an investor’s view for management to deal with a difficult situation in tough times. The following are a few tips in dealing with a crisis situation.
1. Develop a contingency plan for all types of emergencies, from FDA recalls or product defects to scandals involving top executives.
2. Conduct an internal investigation to determine any company liability and to prevent such accidents from occurring in the future.
3. Create a written public relations crisis communications plan and follow it.
4. Avoid Hollywood clichés. “No comment” responses to the media can be more damaging than making a statement.
5. Ensure that company information flows through one pre-determined spokesperson and the message is consistent.
6. Monitor media coverage and investor’s attitudes to measure the success of your communications strategy.
7. Have a mid- or long-range view–it may take time for the company to recover.