Return On Investment in PR

Return on investment (ROI) is applicable to a variety of transactions today.  One main field it can be applied to is public relations.  A basic definition of return of investment is “A performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or to compare the efficiency of a number of different investments” (Root, 2014).  Because investments are such a touchy subject for most people to talk about it is hard to determine what we can apply ROI to.  When applying ROI to Public Relations we can analyze how the client expects their investment to work for them.

Pozin (2014) states that Public Relations has an estimated revenue of almost $11 billion a year and is a growing field that ROI is a big part of, but maybe shouldn’t be.  Pozin (2014) goes on to explain that since public relations is so multi-faceted it is hard to get ROI results as fast and concrete as most investors expect.  Investors are trying to make sure their money is working for them at all times.  Though public relations professional are working on the ROI for these investors, they are also doing much more such as building a brand name, publicity, campaigns and many other features the company will use.  If public relations is able to accomplish all of the other objectives they are there to do, then they will eventually reach the standard ROI.

Public relations is built off of measurements; Measuring success, networking, targets, etc.  Marklein (2011) tried to find a better way of explaining the relationship of ROI to public relations, “After debating several alternatives, we landed on a “Total Value” concept that would allow public relations leaders to showcase the full value of what we do, including quantitative and qualitative, tangible and intangible, and near-term and long-term value.”  What Marklein (2011) had decided was the total value of everything that public relations does is greater than the ROI but rather focuses on other financial measurements that could eventually showcase the ROI.  When looking at the public relations ROI from a distance, it has to be considered from all sides including all the work that public relations professionals do and not just the ROI.

Instead of investors thinking about how much their investment is going to make financially, they must look at the all around investment that public relations provides.  Looking at the ROI, we discover that the value of the company is determined by not just the money that is invested and returned but the publicity, networking, and overall success of the company after using the public relations techniques.  Public relations is so multi-faceted it is hard to focus on one concrete success such as money.  Instead the ROI is focused around a broad spectrum of successes making public relations a valuable field that can point out the efficiency of an investment in multiple ways rather than just one.

Marklein, T. (2011) Money Matters; Rethinking ROI for Public Relations. The Council of PR Firms. Retrieved from:

Pozin, I. (2014). 5 Measurements for PR ROI. Forbes. Retrieved from:

Return on Investment-ROI. Definition, Investopedia. (2014, December 8) Retrieved from:


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