If there’s one theme that plagued digital advertising throughout 2017, it was controversy.
Marc Pritchard, the top marketer at Proctor & Gamble, kicked 2017 off with a widely reported speech knocking digital ads, which Marketing Dive summed up nicely in this question and answer interview:
“[A lot of companies] were seeing increased spending in digital media, but decreased effectiveness; increasing costs, but decreasing sales lift.”
It’s against that backdrop that we begin to see multiple data points showing renewed interests in earned media – a traditional staple of the public relations discipline. And that’s the theme for this week’s Unscripted Marketing links [UML].
As it is on the occasional Saturday, I roundup three interesting links I’ve vetted around a theme, wrap them up in experience and insight, and deliver it here for your consideration.
In May 2017, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) surveyed 100 of its members and found most plan to increase their investment in PR. As Erik Oster reported in an Adweek story – Marketers Plan to Increase PR Spending Over the Next 5 Years, According to New Report – advertisers are planning to boost both staffing and spending:
“Sixty-two percent of respondents answered that they planned to increase internal public relations staffing over the next five years and a full 75 percent said they planned to increase overall spending on PR over that same time period.”
The survey was conducted for the ANA by USC Annenberg. Initially, the association published a stand-alone report, titled “The Evolution of Public Relations” (downloads a PDF) which I’m referring to here.
The survey was later “integrated into a broader” study called the 2017 Global Communications Report. It predicted marketing and PR would converge over the next five years. It’s a prediction that’s been made several times before and many years earlier, but for a very different reason: The Future of Marketing Looks More like Public Relations.
Don’t miss these related posts:
PR Strategy: Paid Media Tactics for Earning Media
The Longstanding Value of a Backlink for Digitally Savvy PR
Corporate Communications is Taking More PR Work In-House, finds Survey; Media Relations Gets Even Harder
2) B2B prioritizing budgets for earned media
“More B2B marketers are shifting budget and priority to earned media as they struggle with declining response rates from traditional investments in paid media,” according to a new report by Demand Gen: Earned Media Influential in Performance Marketing.
The priorities are shifting because B2B marketing organizations are finding success. Some 90% said media relations efforts were at least somewhat effective and about one-third (29%) said earned media was very effective.
B2B marketing budgets are reflecting that confidence:
“B2B marketers currently spend approximately the same amount for earned media (24%) as they do for paid media (25%), while owned media accounts for 32%.
Nearly half (48%) have seen their earned media spend increase over the last year, compared to only 39% who said their paid media budget had increased.”
When you look at the data, particularly the graphic nearby, which visualizes this survey data, you can see a pretty even spread among earned media, paid media and owned media (content marketing). It just goes to show it’s not about which one is better, but how they work better together.
Additional resources on this report:
- eMarketer: How B2Bs Split Their Marketing Spending
- The Proactive Report: Earned Media Outperforms Paid in Demand Gen
3) Earned media is a trusted source of information
When businesses talk about spending more on PR, they are really talking about hiring smart PR people and given them the access and resources to get the job done. This is important because if you want to understand why earned media is credible, it’s because it cannot be purchased.
The business has to live its purpose and then also fund the effort to communicate the story. Sure there are a few stories that are stumbled upon, but the rest are conveyed.
The State of Inbound 2017 report provides insight:
“Referrals, customer references, media articles, and vendor-authored articles have consistently been the most reliable sources of information for our decision-makers.”
Six of the seven sources listed on the chart nearby have all traditionally fallen into the PR sphere of influence as some PR pros have pointed out.
What’s old is new again, or so it seems. With the trend towards blended media, the debate is likely to emphasize the inability to distinguish between earned and paid media.
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