Hey Advertising People, Public Relations May Soon Steal Some of Your Business

According to a recent study by the Association of National Advertisers, the majority of marketers plan to increase internal staffing and overall spending on public relations over the next five years citing the discipline’s increasingly important part of the marketing landscape. 

The report, which the ANA conducted in partnership with the USC Center for Public Relations at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, also revealed that digital communications are driving public relations, and the three most important trends that will affect the future of PR are social listening, digital storytelling, and real-time marketing. 

The survey was conducted this past winter and was designed to understand current client-side marketer perceptions of public relations. Respondents were asked to identify the trends most important to the future of public relations, how PR demonstrates its value, and how it will develop over the next five years. 



More than half of the respondents (62%) indicated they plan to increase internal staffing to support public relations over the next five years, and 75% said they plan to increase overall spending on PR. Those figures compared to 16% and 25%, respectively, who said they plan to make similar increases in the current year. 

Additional finding from the study include: 

- PR is converging with marketing. According to 54% of survey respondents, public relations will change over the next five years by becoming more closely aligned with marketing. In fact, 72% of respondents answered that the discipline will either become more closely aligned with marketing or become a subset of it. 

- An overwhelming 89% of respondents said PR can demonstrate its value most effectively by proving how its programs achieve measureable business outcomes and by improving measurement of results. 

- Respondents indicated that the number of overall agencies (public relations, advertising, marketing, branding, digital, etc.) their organization will work with over the next five years will either stay the same (44%) or decrease slightly (31%).



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