Q&A: PR Research Job Prospects

Q.  I enjoyed your article on Public Relations Research.  I was wondering if there were any entry-level positions in research, or are those positions mostly for senior level public relations professionals? In addition, where is the public relations research in relations to the advertising account planner? Do you think there will eventually be planning departments in public relations agencies like there are planning departments in Advertising agencies? Furthermore, is there such a thing as a public relations media planner? Thank you so much, you are an awesome resource.  -MS

A.  Excellent questions.  Indeed, there are entry-level opportunities in PR research so I asked some colleagues in the research world to weigh in with their points of view. 

Author of the earlier post, Mark Weiner, CEO of PRIME Research North America, confirmed there are entry-level opportunities in PR search.   He also said the question about PR planning departments is particularly salient, noting three factors are emerging which support the rise of the PR planner:  Bigger budgets coupled with the clients desire to ensure a return on their investment; the increasingly fractionated media landscape, and the desire among clients for more fully integrated marketing and communication strategies.  Mark explained, “Very few PR agencies have formal planning departments, per se, but those that do look for people to help navigate the nexus of PR–research, creativity and media.”

Don W. Stacks, Ph.D., professor and director of the advertising and public relations program at the University of Miami, says there will be even more entry-level hiring in the future as increasing numbers of clients want to know what they achieved.  He cited agencies such as Ketchum that have their own research departments as most likely to hire at the entry level.  Ketchum research executive Joanne Puckett said, “We have a lot of people starting their careers here as interns or research associates.” 

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