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Why the pressure's on for PR to deliver sales

Around the world PR agencies are under greater pressure to prove that their work increases their clients’ sales figures. Nearly nine out of ten (86%) of the International PR Network (IPRN) say that their clients expect PR to have a more direct impact on sales according to the study The Changing Trend of PR Globally – An Agency Perspective, from communications agency McOnie

Discussing how agencies are reacting to this pressure, Sarah McOnie, managing director of McOnie says: “Our survey shows that agencies recognised the integration of PR and marketing as an important method in assisting clients’ sales targets. We found that the Australian, North American and Russian agencies regarded this as one of their top priorities to greater support their clients’ needs.”

In terms of what agencies can actually do to help boost sales, McOnie says they should work closely with their clients to establish their goals and the results they need. “Confirming a tailored measurement system that highlights how public relations is influencing sales, is crucial to do this effectively.

“It remains difficult to accurately prove that a PR campaign has had a direct link to sales. This is not getting any easier, particularly as the ‘dark social’ is untraceable. That said, the emergence of digitalisation has led to a greater awareness of the value of PR.”

The table below shows that sales are still regarded as an ineffective method for proving the value of PR activity amongst professionals.

The good news is that digital tools help agencies to prove their worth. McOnie says: “75% of the respondents are tackling digitalisation head-on by creating in-house teams. Therefore, reporting notable achievements such as a direct link to a clients’ website should be a strong reference point to the success of an agency’s work, and is often the best way to showcase the direct link between public relations and sales.”

Below: Two notable findings from the survey.

On a scale of 1 to 5, how important is the integration of PR&Marketing for your clients?

Biggest challenges of the changing landscape of PR

McOnie conducted a global survey with the help of its trusted partners from the International PR Network (IPRN). As a member of the network McOnie was able to survey established, independent and respected PR agencies across the globe to obtain relevant information.The survey was shared with all the members in the IPRN and the results from North and South America, the UK and Europe, Scandinavia, South Africa, Russia, China, the Middle East, India and Australia were combined to give this worldwide perspective.

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