Why are Marketing budgets growing faster than PR budgets?

Last week’s IPA Bellwether Report shows PR budgets increased by only 1% in the last quarter compared to a 12% increase for marketing budgets. In fact, budgets for marketing services have proportionately increased 10x more than for PR in the last two years, an even more interesting finding when you consider that marketing budgets are generally bigger than PR budgets to start with. You only have to look at the spend for ‘internet’ budgets to see why real-time, personalised, measurable marketing is a more compelling investment than traditional PR. We have heard many times that ‘marketing has changed more in the last two years than the previous ten’, and while innovation is taking place on the digital marketing side of things on the back of new technologies, in PR little has really changed. It therefore can’t be that surprising then that budgets haven’t increased as much. To change the spend trend, it’s down to agencies to offer services that meet clients’ needs and show a return in times of change. I don’t think many PR agencies have innovated enough, fast enough. There’s a false confidence in the industry, in my opinion, which neither benefits agencies nor PR managers; there’s no shortage of talk about innovation, change and being well placed, but the commercials don’t back that up. According to the PRCA, nearly three quarters of marketers expect a rise in content marketing over the next 12 months. A big part of that spend is going to be on the creation and distribution of content and that presents a major opportunity for PR agencies to add more value to their clients, and help them grow their budgets – and justify the increase! Whether that happens is down to the quality of the agencies; bad ones won’t, good ones will, and the best ones will even help link PR and Marketing budgets to generate something bigger than the sum of the parts. In our world, that’s the ‘Brand to Sales’ offer.