It's official, it pays to use PR

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The Independent Online
Public relations is the most effective form of business-to-business marketing despite being given less of a budget priority than brochures and other forms of literature and trade press advertising, according to a new survey.

The top position in the return on investment rankings given to PR, followed by database marketing and direct mail, is an exact repeat of the findings of last year's inaugural report by business-to-business advertising agency, CHJS, and researchers at Strathclyde University. However, last year there was less of a mismatch, with PR coming first and direct mail third in the list of budget priorities.

This year the budget priorities list is topped by brochures and literature, followed by trade press advertising, PR, direct mail and exhibitions. There is a general expectation that the Internet will become a much more important marketing medium. Though currently rated 13th out of 19 in terms of budgetary priorities, marketing professionals questioned forecast a significant increase in funds devoted to the technology in the coming months.

CHJS said such views "presumably reflect respondents' own usage" and pointed out that 79 per cent of companies owned their own Web site and most used the Internet for between 30 minutes and an hour at least once a week.

Gary Howells, CHJS managing director, said: "The business community is slowly coming to terms with the importance of the Internet. With the introduction of digital television, consumers will soon be able to connect to the Internet through standard televisions, creating tremendous opportunities for companies based on the Web."

Among the other findings is that while press advertising continues to receive budget priority, the various forms of direct marketing (databases, direct mail and telemarketing) are challenging strongly.

The survey, carried out this winter, also discovered that 95 per cent of respondents believe that business-to-business communications should be integrated, so that they offer significant value in terms of consistency, control and extra impact.

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