Marketing and public relations have become close in recent years, therefore forming two sides of the same coin. Many marketing teams have internal staff dedicated to public relations. Marketers are expected to increase their PR spend in the next five years. According to research from ANA (the Association of National Advertisers), Marketing departments are increasing their PR spend to increase exposure. The survey found that 62% of marketers plan to increase spending on internal PR staffing in the next five years, while 75% of marketers plan on increasing overall PR spending over the same period.

The study finds that the share of reliance on external agencies was not expected to increase. Marketers turn to outside firms for “expertise in specific areas” and “strategic insights,” according to the study. One of the most prominent areas of expertise is data-driven insights.  This area focuses on the metrics of gaining exposure, honing in on how the metrics relate to core business goals. But more marketers to demand concrete data proving that their PR efforts are advancing the bottom line.

Data-Driven Public Relations Drives Exposure

A highly sought-after subject in the marketing world is big data. Better data allows for advanced ad-targeting, leading to more impactful campaigns. The increased dominance of digital media leads to PR firms are leveraging data more than ever to produce results.

Some firms, such as Fifth Avenue Brands, are using a data-driven public relations strategy.  This strategy produces ROI reports that quantify the exact impacts of a given campaign. They use these tactics to help brands gain exposure, which leads to measurable impacts on their business objectives.

“Many public relations campaigns leave clients not able to accurately track the results of their PR efforts,” says Kayla Starta, PR Director for Fifth Avenue Brands. “Our data-driven approach brings a new light to PR campaigns. This allows for in-depth tracking of key metrics for PR campaigns, including impressions, social impact, and ROI.”

This reiterates the trend that marketers turn to PR experts to gain exposure and improve their advertising efforts. Marketers want to make sure their budget is being used effectively, furthermore the public relations field is answering the call with data-centric approaches.

Marketers Turn to PR to Achieve Business Objectives

The increased use of data to back PR campaigns is coming at a favorable time. When asked how PR firms can demonstrate their value, 89% of respondents in the ANA survey said that they need to “demonstrate how public relations programs achieve measurable business objectives”. There are many tales of fast-talking PR executives that produce more hot-air than actual results, but these types of firms fall by the wayside.  Data-focused agencies like Fifth Avenue Brands among others are replacing these types of firms.

The next couple of years promise to be crucial for marketers and PR firms. The term “big data” has been more buzz-word than an actual strategy for years. Sophisticated tools are finally able to produce measurable results. Marketers should take heed of this new line-up of PR tactics, and most importantly, follow the majority of marketers who are increasing their spend on PR.

Jordan French is the managing editor of Grit Daily. He is a multi-media tech journalist on the editorial staff at TheStreet.com and a Fast 50 and Inc. 500-ranked entrepreneur. He is the founder of Notability Partners and the co-founder of BNB Shield, Lisbon Hill Farms, Status Labs, BeeHex, and Grit Daily. A biomedical engineer and intellectual-property attorney, French is the author of upcoming book, The Gritty Entrepreneur.