Making the PR-to-Sales Connection: What’s Next in the ROI Equation?

Mark Weiner, IPR Measurement Commission/Chief Insights Officer, Cision

The advent of attribution analysis for earned media means that PR practitioners can answer one of the profession’s most elusive PR-ROI questions: How and to what degree does PR generate sales?

Indicators positively point to PR as marketing’s most efficient means of driving a sale. Although the relative volume of sales is lower than most other marketing channels, this is more a function of extraordinarily low levels of investment rather than an inability of PR to deliver.

In fact, when companies and brands increase their level of PR spending, there is no observable point of diminishing return. In other words, the more a brand invests in earned media, the more sales PR generates. This reaffirms what we in PR always believed in our hearts to be true: PR works…And it works in ways that other marketing communications channels envy.
Pieces in the PR-to-Sales Puzzle
Attribution technology applies digital watermarking to track consumer interaction with earned media content to tell us who says what, to whom, when, where and to what effect. In this way, attribution analysis combines with classical media content analysis to reveal who clicked on your article, for example, and what they did as a result:
Did they visit your website?
Did they download information?
Did they place an order?
At the same time, the technology uncovers consumer demographics and company firmographics, which enable better targeting and positioning to the media with the highest rate of desirable audience response. The outcome is greater PR efficiency and improved return-on-investment, as well as a better understanding among marketing decision-makers of PR’s unique power to drive sales.

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