David Hargreaves

Reflections on the reinvention of the PR industry

PR Must Expand Into Online Marketing

Jeremiah Owyang produced an interesting piece earlier today asking what will happen to PR firms in a recession based on research among 200 PR agencies. I must confess I am not surprised to see that a small majority of firms are predicting that PR budgets were smaller than they were in fiscal 2008, but then if you if you look at any operating cost, I would be surprised if this wasn’t pretty much tracking the downward pressure on all operating costs.

Having said that I think cost reductions fall into two categories: reducing costs because in this climate ‘you can’ and ‘you need to be seen to’ and then there are those companies that are having to reduce costs because ‘they must’. I wonder what if the PR budget reductions are greater or smaller than comparable ad budgets?

I both agree and disagree with the second point Jeremiah makes when he says that “things don’t look too rosy for the PR industry.” If you are a traditional PR agency doing the same old stuff then I would be worried. However, if you accept that the world has changed and embracing social media is neither an option or an add on to your traditional offering then the world looks rosier.

By putting social media at the centre of what we do, we have a fantastic opportunity to extend our remit more broadly into the world of online marketing. Far from being gloomy, as someone who has been involved in the PR industry for 20 years and who has always embraced technology, the future for the industry has never been more exciting.

We just need to get through this economic trough first.

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