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Priorities Differ for PR Agencies, In-House Teams
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For Immediate Release:
Dateline: New York, NY
Friday, September 15, 2023


Communications professionals who work in-house at a company’s comms. department and those employed at a public relations agency revealed several different priorities in a new survey published by PR analytics and insights platform Memo.

The report, which sought to better understand the role that communications plays in today’s corporate landscape by surveying PR pros on their job duties, priorities and who they report to on the leadership level, discovered marked differences in the priorities and objectives between communicators working in-house and PR pros who work for an agency.

According to the report, the objectives held between PR pros working at agencies and those stationed at in-house comms. teams are more or less closely aligned, with communications pros everywhere listing building awareness, increasing coverage volume and boosting community engagement as the top priorities for their organization.

However, those identifying as internal communicators in a communications department reported slightly different priorities. In-house PR pros were more likely to list changing perceptions of the company they work for (43 percent), followed by increasing share-of-voice (42 percent) and improving the marketing pipeline (41 percent) as their top three objectives.

Meanwhile, those working at PR agencies steer more toward boosting community engagement (41 percent, versus 39 percent of in-house PR pros), building awareness (41 percent, versus 39 percent of in-house PR pros) and changing perceptions (38 percent, versus 35 of in-house PR pros) as top priorities they strive to meet for their clients.

memo graphicTop priorities for in-house comms teams vs. PR agencies.

In-house and agency PR pros appear to be more closely aligned on other priorities, such as increasing coverage volume (37 percent for in-house teams, versus 36 percent for agencies), amplifying specific key messages (37 percent versus for in-house teams, 36 percent for agencies) and combating misinformation (35 percent for in-house teams, versus 34 percent for agencies).

According to all the PR pros surveyed, communications leaders (those designated as VP or above) reported their work is mainly dedicated to handling marketing campaigns (73 percent), internal communications (73 percent) and executive communications (65 percent) duties. Those under VP also typically say that working on marketing campaigns (81 percent) is their top responsibility, followed by social media (75 percent) and proactive media relations (70 percent). VPs and above also commonly find themselves handling proactive media relations efforts (65 percent), as well as social media (64 percent) and brand design (63 percent), while those below VP also often offer their services to brand design (67 percent), as well as internal communications (60 percent) and social responsibility efforts (57 percent).

Finally, the report discovered that, despite the chief communications officer’s rise in the C-suite in recent years, most communications teams still report to marketing team leadership. Nearly half (44 percent) of comms. teams report to the CMO or marketing leader. An additional 41 percent report to the CEO. Only 7 percent report to a chief revenue officer or a sales team and only 2 percent report to the legal department.

Memo’s “Evolving Role of Communications” report polled 1,000 full-time comms. pros who work either in-house at a company or at a communications agency with at least 100 employees. The survey was conducted online in June.

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