Thursday, November 14, 2013

Charting the Industry – Spending on Social Media

Despite the constants drumbeat throughout PR and marketing precincts to ramp up spending on social platforms, nearly 60% of senior level PR executives said they are spending between just 1% and 5% of their overall revenue on social media, according to an exclusive study for PR News conducted by StevensGouldPincus.

            The online study, which was conducted in September and October, took the pulse of 64 senior-level PR executives.  It was an effort to gauge the appetite among both agencies and clients to boost spending levels on social platforms, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, which have quickly moved to the top of the PR food claim.

            The big picture?  Shifting PR budgets to enhance spending on social platforms is most likely going to be a long and arduous process.

            A lot of agencies are not sophisticated with spending on social media and are still feeling their way around the space. There are some CEO’s in PR who are still looking for their comfort zone.  According to the survey, roughly 16% of the respondents said they devote between 10% and 15% of their overall revenue on social platforms while approximately 11% of the respondents said they were spending either less than 1% or more than 20% on social platforms.

            When it comes to which social channels are gathering the most spending among PR execs the distribution was fairly equitable, with Facebook grabbing the most dollars, followed by Twitter and LinkedIn. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Lean Out

I totally related to the cover story by Sheelah Kolhatkar in Blumberg Businessweek June 3- June 9.  Sheelah praised the new generation of “Alpha Dads.” She exemplified the Toronto office of Deloitte’s Consulting Group, about their flexibility in work-life balance and the resulting increased productivity.  Leaving the office early to attend a son’s hockey game and then logging in from home office does not in any way hurt the firm.  If anything, it helps it.  The “Deloitte Dads,” the “fraternity of paternity” have received extensive media coverage as manager Jonathan Magder, 35, stated, “if I leave for the day, I’m just changing my (work) location.” The Deloitte Dads were inspired by the Deloitte mothers group, “Career Moms” which now has four chapters in Canada, promoting networking and more flexible schedules for working parents with young children.  It is a “Lean In” prototype for parenting executives, inspired by the bestselling book “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook.

When my son, now 23, was growing up I missed many of his basketball, soccer & martial arts events because I was working.  That was a mistake that I will not repeat with my wonderful young daughter, Jaime, now 6.  I now make it my priority to be at every event at school & sports activities.  Seeing her evolve as an excellent swimmer has been very gratifying.

It’s all about flexibility in scheduling, efficient prioritizing and careful time management.  The IPAD, blackberry and other new media and mobile devices make it even less of a challenge.  As the Toronto based manager of Deloitte said “I’m just changing my work location.” 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How do you improve your bottom line and increase value? Embrace Benchmarking!

Wouldn’t you agree that knowing the key PR firm benchmarks by size, region & specialty would be a valuable tool in assessing your business?  Wouldn’t you agree that having the actual billing rates and utilization/productivity percents of your PR industry peers can assist you in proactively managing your firm?  Embrace benchmarking and gain these valuable keys to unlock profitability in your firm.

Our initial deadline for responses to our latest annual benchmarking survey was last Friday, March 22.  Dozens of firms requested extensions of 2-3 weeks, and we granted all of them.  Why?  Because we are told year after year by the most successful PR firms that our benchmarking results guide their profitability throughout the year. 
If you haven’t already participated, email me today to request an extension too.  We will resend you the survey. Participants are the first to get the full results.  Our survey reports help participating firms turn unprofitable businesses into profitable ones, as well as build value to the firm.

I’ve surveyed the industry about benchmarking for over 20 years. Benchmarking data can give you insight into profitable hiring, firing, rent rates, T&E expenditures, benefit offerings, operating costs and minimum monthly retainer levels.  The Revenue Per Professional metric has become the most important indicator of profitability.

Take the survey today and participate by clicking on this link.  I guarantee it will be worth your time.

Contact me directly with questions or comments: direct line 212-896-1909, or

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Miracle on the Hudson- 4 Years Later

This week was the 4th anniversary of the Miracle on the Hudson River.  Flashback to January 15, 2009:  US Airways flight 1549 lost its engines, had no thrust, was rapidly declining in altitude, and was now just a few hundred feet above land.  Captain Chesley (Sully) Sullenberger phoned air traffic control requesting an emergency landing, with few options remaining as he approached New York City. 

His many thousands of hours of piloting never prepared him for landing a plane on a narrow river as the Hudson, flanked by the skyscrapers and crowded buildings of Manhattan and New Jersey.  He did not practice this maneuver in his pilot graduate courses or in his flight school drills.  This type of landing was never drilled using a plane smaller than the Airbus A320.  But here he was, with 155 people on board, knowing if he didn’t go 1 for 1 and bat 1,000 then all on board could be dead, as well as Sully and his co-pilot. 

He kept his cool, engineered his plane dead center for the Hudson, and miraculously he succeeded. Those famous words, “Brace for impact” were heard thousands of times on replays of his leadership and success.  A new American folk hero was born.  Sully was the conversation everywhere.  His heroic act resonated around the globe.

My office on the 53rd floor of One Penn Plaza, NYC (34th Street) has a direct view of the Hudson, exactly where Sully brought down the plane.  Each morning I start my day looking out at the Hudson and surrounding skyscrapers, right where the plane went down.   Knowing what took place that day four years ago, and the heroic acts and sharp thinking that ensued, fosters an energy of inspiration and positivity for me.  

In some ways I draw a parallel between the Miracle on the Hudson situation to the many challenges we face as entrepreneurs.  However, I am not bold enough to say that any challenge I ever had comes close to what Sully faced.  My successes may generate financial rewards and professional satisfaction.  Sully’s success saved 155 lives and put the Miracle on the Hudson in our history books forever.  

This amazing landing not only has a well-deserved place in American history but also serves as a lesson for all people, especially entrepreneurs.  Sully showed that by mastering the basics, continuing his education throughout his career, and remaining calm under adverse conditions that the result can be miraculously successful.