Public relations and communications managers in the business-to-business technology sector are under increasing pressure to deliver but are still not seen as contributing to business growth, according to Kaizo's first B2B Tech In-House PR Barometer survey, conducted among PR managers and directors in leading firms in the sector.

Headline findings include:

  • 83 percent feel under more pressure to deliver than this time last year
  • 39 percent say there are higher expectations from the business to do more with the same budget
  • Only 17 percent feel their business sees PR as contributing to business growth
  • 89 percent are still measured on the volume of press coverage
  • Only 1 in 4 feel very valued in their role.

Says Steph MacLeod, director at Kaizo, "There seems to be disconnect between how organisations internally perceive the role of PR and what they are expecting the function to deliver. This disconnect is being bridged by PR managers as they try to deliver what they know is required to aid growth; targeted, storytelling content and earned media appearances across multiple channels, whilst they personally are still largely being measured on 'traditional' PR deliverables."

An overwhelming majority (83 percent) felt under more pressure to deliver than this time last year, with 45 percent citing the inclusion of activities such as social and lead generation campaigns within the existing PR budget and 39 percent claiming there were higher expectations from the business to do more with the same budget—with 17 percent are being asked to do more with less budget. Almost half (43 percent) claimed that demands for PR to show direct business impact was proving stressful.

A surprising 83 percent of respondents claim that the business' perception of the role of PR was to churn out press releases. In addition 56 percent claim that their colleagues see their role as “entertaining” journalists. Only 17 percent of organisations see a PR contribution to business growth, while 11 percent felt that it was not at all seen as contributing to business growth.

The top measurement criteria for respondents was volume of press coverage (89 percent), while an incredible 56 percent have to rely on anecdotal feedback. Only one in five (22 percent) are measured on attitudinal change. An increasing number of respondents are also now measured by their success in social and online marketing: 44 percent are measured on social metrics such as followers/likes, 39 percent on measured consumption (views/click through) and 23 percent via web analytics and inbound traffic from earned media.

More encouragingly 60 percent of respondents said that that the business saw the role of PR as managing the overall reputation of the brand, with a similarly high level of responsibility for social media 61 percent and 56 percent for content development.