This month's poll is a result of a conversation I had last week with a fellow PR pro in the D.C. area (If anyone knows how I can fix the formatting of the poll, shoot me an e-mail!). As most of you know, the end of the government's FY means lots of BD work for BtoB and BtoG clients. One of the things my colleague told me is that several of his clients are cutting back on the media monitoring and analysis services the firm he works for offers. The reasoning? He speculates with the upcoming change in administration and recession has marketing and corporate communicators saving or at least holding their budgets for new initiatives for '09 implementation. Moreover, there is increasing pressure from clients to implement Web 2.0 strategies (the late adopters are now realizing that these tools can be used effectively and strategically to achieve goals - and are measurable).
My first real "gig" in PR was collecting and analyzing media. While I can stand the political and economic arguments surrounding the need to watch budgets, not actively monitoring and analyzing coverage of a company, competitors or an entire industry means that PR campaigns are likely to less effective in the long run.
BtoB and BtoG campaigns take place in an environment where the decision making process could take months or in the case of BtoG, years. Actively monitoring issues (my public affairs cousins know what I'm talking about) as well as coverage of specific company initiatives gives you the intelligence needed to create and then change (if needed) strategic communications plans to ensure they are effective.
As I tell all my clients, you don't just hire a PR firm to get you press and measure "share of voice." You hire a PR firm to get you intelligence. Media monitoring and analysis is just one of the many ways PR firms are able to gain competitive insight into key stakeholders and industries.
Please vote in the poll and feel free to post comments on what you feel about media monitoring and analysis. Should PR firms/professionals be responsible for collecting and analyzing the data? Have we reached a point in the market where outside services (Cision, Vocus, Meltwater, Carma, etc.) are working with client's directly to provide this service? Is the majority of the industry contracting with these types of services directly to provide monitoring and analysis for our clients? Are agencies developing (or still using) proprietary systems that they have developed for this purpose? Or with the rise of news aggregators such as Google News, are the majority of PR firms relying on the Internet and news database for these services?
What are your thoughts on this issue?