Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy

Review: PR Trends for 2004….

The problem with sticking your neck out at this time of year with predictions for the next twelve months is that you have a moral responsibility to review the trends to see how accurate you’ve been…

Last December I suggested….

1. Unfortunately I think that PR’s profile will continue to be attacked in 2004 as it has for much of the past decade! (Find out for yourself how much the profession hasn�t changed in the past twelve years).


Fairly obvious this one and nothing has changed… 


2. PR agency spending will re-bound slightly in 2004.


I don’t have any hard statistics on agency spend in 2004 but from conversations with various agency folks things seem to be picking up. We did get confirmation during the year that 2003 wasn’t a good year.


3. As PR spending recovers look out for more selective PR agency acquisitions in 2004 to follow the likes of Applied Communications.


There wasn’t a lot of M&A activity this year so this was a miss…


4. With the volume of spam still rising, RSS will continue to proliferate as a means of communicating with journalists, analysts, staff, customers, partners and communities, it may even begin to break outside the technology business � though it�s a couple of years away from mainstream.  Also, PR people will increasingly use RSS throughout 2004 to monitor what�s going on in their clients� markets.


RSS is quietly plugging away and with large companies such as IBM now providing all their news via RSS this is a hit… 


5. Look out for blogs and weblogs to move beyond the technology business into other business-to-business and consumer markets � more targets for you to track.


Blogs are definetely proliferating though I’m not sure their corporate adoption was as fast as I thought.  Indeed blogs continue to thrive in the realm of the individual…


6. Your favorite magazines will begin to swell again as Advertising spend begins to recover.


Most magazines are beginning to (slowly) grow again, though as with my other trends not as fast as I would have imagined…


7. However, staffers will continue to be overworked as publications refuse to spend until absolutely necessary.  All the more reason to keep tight tabs on the freelancers in your market � they�ll be busier this year than at any time since the dot bomb.


This is a hit.  Freelancers are accounting for a large and growing proportion of media conerage…


8. Consumers will continue to become more sophisticated, which translates into more work for PR.  They�ll use multiple sources for decision making and that means you�ll have to work with multiple sources to help your clients make sales.


I am delighted to report this is also a hit. Recent research has found that as consumers in any given market become more educated they use a variety of different means to find information…


9. 2004 will be a time when online measurement becomes commonplace and affordable � track the success of your tactics in real-time.


There have been some developments in measurement including a new cheaper online measurement tool…


10. The next twelve months will demand a host of new skills from PR practitioners � search engine optimization for one will be an increasingly important skill.  Also don�t forget you own communications, make sure you are involved in how your clients can effectively communication across all media from press releases to web sites�


This depends on your role, but certainly I see a lot more PR practitioners getting involved in SEO even if we’re at the early stages.. 



Well not too bad. I think for the next twelve months, M&A activity among PR agencies will grow, we should see more corporate blogs and I expect all the other trends to continue also.


If you disagree let me know!

Written by Tom Murphy

December 20, 2004 at 10:18 am

Posted in General

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