In this interview by PR Moment’s Ben Smith, Cision CEO Kevin Akeroyd lays bare the challenge he sees the PR industry facing and provides insight into why Cision has invested close to $2bn in buying up point solutions across data, content and measurement.
Coming from Oracle and before that Salesforce, Akeroyd arrives without PR industry baggage and so brings a truly tech oriented mind-set to his new role. This is evident as he provides strong opinion on the struggle PR faces against other marketing disciplines, particularly when it comes to technology adoption, measurement and budgets.
With CMOs and the wider marketing community focusing on the challenges of personalisation, customer experience and the adoption of new technologies, Akeroyd implies that PR is still in the dark ages when it comes to the use of technology. Given his commercial agenda, we’d expect him to have this opinion, however he makes a fair point and it’s one the industry must face up to.
Akeroyd also makes an elegant argument as to why PR will continue to be viewed as a necessary operating expense while paid and owned are viewed as direct investments in revenue. And the reason? It’s because PR still deals in vanity metrics whereas paid and owned show up with “hard numbers, hard conversion rates and hard revenue impact.”
Now that’s a sentence guaranteed to make any self-respecting AMEC member smile!
PR still deals in PR vanity metrics, whereas paid and owned show up with hard numbers, hard conversion rates and hard revenue impact. So where paid and owned are viewed as a direct investment in revenue, comms is still an operating expense (Opex.) Its strategic Opex, its important Opex but it’s not attributed business value. That’s why a big global company has a $2.5 billion ad/paid media budget and a $200 million comms budget. It’s all about that lack of measurability. When PR and earned media start showing hard revenue metrics and attribution, the way paid and owned do, a lot of the money that wants to flow into earned and comms will.