Quick Study: Businesses Strengthening Sustainability Commitment; Economy Excites CMOs—Social Media Budgets to Rise


â–¶ Sustainability Steps Up: More than two-thirds of businesses are strengthening their commitment to sustainability, according to a new study by MIT Sloan Management Review and The Boston Consulting Group. The study found that 69% plan to step up their investment in and management of sustainability this year. Additional findings include: • Just over one-quarter (26%) of respondents plan no change, and only 2% intend to cut back on their sustainability commitments. • A two-speed corporate citizenship landscape is emerging, with a gap between sustainability “embracers” —those who place sustainability high on their agenda —and non-embracers or “cautious adopters,” who have yet to focus on more than energy cost savings and material efficiency. • 70% of embracers say they believe their organizations outperform industry peers. By contrast, only 53% of cautious adopters describe themselves as “out-performers.” • Nearly three times as many embracers (66%) than cautious adopters (23%) said that their organization’s sustainability actions and decisions have increased their profits. Source: MIT Sloan Management Review/Boston Consulting Group â–¶ CMOs Bullish: Top marketing executives at U.S. firms are more optimistic about the economy and their own companies, with company performance indicators such as revenue, profits and new jobs climbing across the board, says an annual study by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the American Marketing Association. Findings include: • CMOs rated the U.S. economy at 63 on a scale of 0-100, up from a rating of 56 in August 2010. Nearly 69% of marketing executives reported they were more optimistic about the U.S. economy, compared to 26% the previous quarter. • CMOs expect higher customer purchase volume, higher prices, more new customers entering the market and better customer retention. • Spending on social marketing continues its upward trend. CMOs say their organizations currently spend 6% of their marketing budgets on social media campaigns and promotions, but that figure will triple to 18% over the next five years. • Advertising will see gains in the next year, with spending on traditional ads expected to rise more than 2%—the first foray into positive territory since before February 2009. Source: Fuqua School of Business/American Marketing Association PR Myth of the Month: Tracking Competition and PR Objectives In this new monthly series, Mark Weiner (right), 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.

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