The Holmes Report shared new research late in 2018 that revealed that PR budgets continue to shrink. I speak with 5-7 companies each week who are interested in hiring a new agency. Those numbers add up over a month and I can see trends in business issues and communications skills and programs. For the past six month almost every conversation has included talk about ABM campaigns and how to connect to the sales funnel. Most communications leaders I talk to don’t understand why they are being asked to connect with sales or why they need to understand how their programs help with revenue.
In a booming economy, communications and marketing budgets expand – in a flat or declining economy budgets get trimmed. And if you can’t show how you help with the growth or valuation of a company – they get cut altogether. Communications professionals need to move from cover your ass metrics to a deep understanding of how the outcomes we drive help companies grow.
One way to do that is to understand the sales funnel in your company and look at the outcomes from your work that can help with each stage. Even if you only focus at the top of the funnel – awareness and consideration – to start, you can adjust your language and metrics to connect to the core of your business. Here are ideas for metrics you can gather at the awareness and consideration stage which will help connect you to the business:
Awareness Stage – awareness studies, increase in monthly search volume, increase in coverage in target media (not all media), changes in followers and engagement on social channels.
Consideration – review referral traffic, return visit and time spent on your site, inbound inquiries, ask your sales team to track how prospects heard about you in your CRM system
Building the skill of finding metrics that matter leads to the even more important strategic thinking skill of finding insight which moves you far beyond your cover your ass into a business partnership.
Image courtesy of Holmes Report
New research into the Influence 100, the Holmes Report's annual list of the world's most powerful brand and corporate communicators, reveals that their PR budgets continue to shrink, alongside their agency spending patterns. After a temporary spike to 19% last year, the number of executives who oversee PR budgets greater than $100m has continued its freefall. From 50% of respondents managing budgets of this size in 2014, the proportion is now down to 11%. Those who peg their budget between $75m and $100m dropped to 14% from 19% last year, although that still represents an increase from 10% in 2016 and 2015. Those handling a budget between $50m and $75m dropped to 11%, down from 13% last year and 28% in 2016.