Bulldog Reporter's PR Trends 2013 Survey, Financial: PR Budgets Expected to Increase in 2013 — Social and Video Lead, While Management Perceptions Govern Budgets

A new survey of agency- and corporate-side communicators about PR budget forecasts for 2013 reveals they are generally optimistic about their roles in the coming year. Almost 72% of client-side practitioners — those who work in a corporate PR or communications department — believe budgets will stay the same or increase compared with 2012, and more than 30% actually believe they will increase. PR practitioners who work in agencies assess 2013 budgets in similarly positive numbers.

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The two areas that seem poised for the greatest growth in the PR budget in 2013 are Social Media PR and Video Production — more than 45% of client-side practitioners report that social media spending will increase, and 36% report they expect video expenditures to increase. Agency practitioners are even more hopeful about social media expenditures, with 65% reporting an expected increase.

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Good news for practitioners on both sides of the aisle: Most agency and in-house practitioners believe firmly that salaries for staff and executives will be increasing in 2013. Almost 34% believe staff salaries will be increasing at least a bit, and more than 25% believe executive salaries will increase. Conversely, only about 9% of agency and client practitioners believe they'll see executive salaries decrease and fewer than 11% believe that staff salaries will decrease.

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When asked which factors would have the greatest impact on their budget alignment in 2013, client-side practitioners ranked 1)  the company’s financial condition, 2) management opinion about the usefulness of communications, 3) the state of the economy and 4) results of current communications efforts. While most practitioners would likely agree that their efforts will not have a significant impact on the state of the economy or even their company’s overall financial condition, they would probably agree that they have hands-on control over management’s opinion of the usefulness of the organization’s communications efforts and results of current communications efforts. 

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Note: Respondents ranked each factor from no impact to high impact, so multiple combinations were possible

The key, of course, to influencing both variables would seem to be a rigorous, disciplined monitoring and measurement regime. Encouragingly, almost 25% of agency- and client-side practitioners reported an increase in budget for Monitoring and Measurement Software, with fewer than 20% reporting expected lower budgets.

More Survey Highlights:

  • Conference/Events Falling in Importance. Meanwhile, 42% of in-house pros and 34% of agency staffers said that conference/event travel will get less PR-budget allocation next year than in 2012.
  • Professional Development Needs Attention. In a sign that the industry is holding the line at the expense of talent and retention, 33% of in-house pros and a full 44% of agency staffers said that professional development will get less budget.

How much professional time do communicators expect to spend on various PR duties next year in comparison with 2012? Daily 'Dog will feature Part 2 of this Bulldog Reporter survey analysis shortly.

Bulldog Reporter's Budget and Trends survey of 585 PR and communications professionals was conducted via Survey Monkey during August and September, 2012. For the budgeting part of the survey, 198 in-house practitioners and 185 agency pros participated.

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