PR Myth of the Month: Tracking Competition and PR Objectives

In this new monthly series, Mark Weiner, CEO of PRIME Research LLP and a member of the PR News Advisory Board, seeks to challenge conventional wisdom and dispel some public relations myths. Mark begins with a myth related to setting PR objectives.

Myth: A good way to set objectives is to track your competition and set your goals based on their performance.

Truth: Tracking competitive performance can be a great source of insight through an analysis of relative strengths and weaknesses in terms of message delivery, media receptivity and more. But as a basis for setting objectives, the assumption that your competitors have the same resources as you do; that their objectives, business priorities and timetable are the same as yours; and, well, that they even know what they’re doing to begin with, is wrong.

A more reliable approach is to begin with a clean slate: Determine which objectives are reasonable, meaningful and measurable for you; use your competition as one of several reality checks, which may include your own “internal clients” whose opinions will contribute to overall planning, resource allocation and evaluation; utilize your peers in marketing and communication whose plans may help to elevate or handicap your own plans; and perform a research-based marketplace assessment to ensure that your plans are free from assumptions, guesswork and erroneous conclusions.

Look for a comprehensive feature on setting effective PR objectives in the March 7 issue of PR News.

Send PR Myth of the Month ideas to svancamp@accessintel.com.