In the theories of media effects the impact of advertising and PR is still a controversial topic. A current study by the University of Applied Sciences Mainz now repeated the analysis of this topic. The result shows: PR works especially, when it comes to communicating knowledge and if arguments have to be believable and convincing- like for so called “High Involvement”- products, with which the costumer specifically deals with before purchasing, for example a new car or a new television.

The classical advertising has the most impact when it comes to products which the costumer is paying less attention to and which are regarded as interchangeable, like products in daily use such as cleaning agent.

„That’s what I always thought about it” is what many PR colleagues might think now, because that’s exactly what I thought when reading the press release.

The same – though not representative – feedback is what we are often getting from our costumers, because IT and Clean Tech are typical High Involvement products. For example: I recently compared the page view numbers of the company’s website together with a client of mine, just because of interest. Everyday when a press release has been published, the number of visors grew rapidly. In contrast, when an advertisement for junior employees has been placed, there were only marginal deflections for this period. Since we do also support the HR-campaign of the company, there are clearly more applications.

And a customer profit can be followed in parts in an article in the trade press (of course the company’s products are also simply good): a Sales Manager was able to send a link to the article in the attachment of an offer. This was the loop for a much personal sales talk and finally the decision for our costumer.

Another interesting story is he case of a customer, whose view numbers of his Xing profile raise up into double digits just in one single day and clearly more contact queries came in, when we shared a press information to expand the German team.

With this study of the University of Applied Sciences Mainz, the effects of PR have finally been proved scientifically by using latest figures and facts. Prof. Dr. Lothar Rolke, head of the study, believes that “the communication-mix is going to change a lot”. I’m keen to see in which direction. At the moment the trend in companies is to reduce the advertising budget or replace it with PR, to the disappointment of the media and certainly not consulting for all participants.

I think sooner or later new mixes of PR and advertising will assert itself. We’ll see which ones.

Jessica Schmidt