More pressure and still undervalued – Kaizo’s First B2B Tech In-House PROs survey reveals challenges in 2015

PR and communications managers in the business to business technology sector are under increasing pressure to deliver but are still not seen as contributing to business growth, according to Kaizo’s first B2B Tech In-House PR Barometer survey released today.

The research, conducted amongst PR managers and directors in leading firms in the sector, highlighted a range of challenges, including how to meet increasing business expectations with static budgets, showing a direct contribution to sales, managing an ever-extending scope of work such as social and new geographic territories, and of course people management.

Headline findings include:

  • 83% feel under more pressure to deliver than this time last year
  • 39% say there are higher expectations from the business to do more with the same budget
  • Only 17% of PROs feel their business sees PR as contributing to business growth
  • 89% are still measured on the volume of press coverage
  • Only 1 in 4 feel very valued in their role

Steph MacLeod, director, Kaizo comments:

“There seems to be disconnect between how organisations internally perceive the role of PR and what they are expecting the function to deliver. This disconnect is being bridged by PR managers as they try to deliver what they know is required to aid growth; targeted, storytelling content and earned media appearances across multiple channels, whilst they personally are still largely being measured on ‘traditional’ PR deliverables.”

Pressure Levels Rising for 2015

An overwhelming majority (83%) felt under more pressure to deliver than this time last year.

When asked to identify contributing factors 45% claimed that this was due to budget scope creep where activities such as social and lead generation campaigns were now included within the existing PR budget. 39% claimed there were higher expectations from the business to do more with the same budget, while 17% are being asked to do more with less budget.

43% claimed that demands for PR to show direct business impact was proving stressful.

Challenging the ‘Press Release’ perception

Although additional activities seem to falling under PR’s remit – which can only be a positive – a surprising 83% of respondents claim that the business’ perception of the role of PR was to churn out press releases. In addition 56% claim that their colleagues see their role as ‘entertaining’ journalists.

Only 17% of organisations see a PR contribution to business growth, but reputation role key

While a very encouraging 17% strongly agreed that PR was recognised as contributing significantly to the growth of the business, a third (33%) of respondents didn’t have a view on this, neither agreeing nor disagreeing. A rather depressing 11% felt that it was not at all seen as contributing to business growth.

Given that, it is perhaps surprising that a third (33%) are actually individually measured on exactly this. In addition, 22% are measured on input to sales and channel and 16% on lead generation.
More encouragingly 60% of respondents said that that the business saw the role of PR as managing the overall reputation of the brand, with a similarly high level of responsibility for social media 61% and 56% for content development.

Only 1 in 4 feel very valued in the role

While over a quarter (27%) of our respondents felt very valued in their roles, the overwhelming majority (67%) only felt moderately valued.  An alarming 6% didn’t feel at all valued!

Still measured on outputs not outcomes

Despite repeated calls for more sophisticated forms of PR campaign measurement, it would appear that this is not always extending to how individual PR professionals are being appraised and measured.

The top measurement criteria for respondents was volume of press coverage (89%), while an incredible 56% have to rely on anecdotal feedback. Only 1 in 5 (22%) are measured on attitudinal change. However, proving the extending scope of PR, an increasing number of respondents are also now measured by their success in social and online marketing. 44% are measured on social metrics such as followers/likes, 39% on measured consumption (views/click through) and 23% via web analytics and inbound traffic from earned media.

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