Polish companies are recovering from the crisis. Marketing in Polish companies is still involved in sales, but sales doesn’t dominate marketing and PR departments quite so much now. Still, companies often lack the courage to experiment or use innovative solutions. And any potential awareness of global trends doesn’t translate into actions. The number of marketing or PR departments that do not measure their effectiveness is growing. The delusion – that a company can build great strategies on the foundations on marketing or PR – continues.

These are the main conclusions of the third edition of research carried out by PMR together with ComPress Publishing (ComPress SA’s research and reports department). The research was conducted on a sample of 250 firms employing at least 50 people and actively engaged in marketing and/or PR.


So is this the end of work ruled by sales?

Compared to research carried out in cooperation with ComPress in late 2013, it’s clear that the number of companies that declared incorporating all of their marketing and PR operations into sales has gone down nearly by half (from 74% to 40%). So it seems that after the crisis – when strategies of expansion had to be traded in for strategies of survival – businesses (and particularly their marketing departments) are retrieving from a full commitment to sales back to their original roles.

In 2013 almost every fourth company surveyed (24%) strongly agreed with the statement that marketing and PR co-create the sales strategy. And a further 35% of respondents mostly agreed with that. But today situation is slightly different. The number of respondents agreeing with this statement has increased to a total of 68%. But a mere 3% of respondents say they strongly agree with it.

“On the one hand, those responsible for communication show an increased awareness of the impact of communication on the effectiveness and level of sales. On the other hand, they do not want, or are unable to, build sales strategies themselves.” – said Adam Sanocki of ComPress.


And what about generating sales leads?

This way of interpreting the findings seems to be right in light of answers respondents gave to the next question – about generating sales leads by marketing and PR departments. A total of 34% agreed with the statement (2% of them agreed strongly). Slightly more (36%) said that they do not agree. For comparison, in 2013, 66% agreed with the statement that marketing and PR implement actions to obtain sales leads (26% of them said that they agree strongly). 15% of respondents held the opposite view.

This tendency confirms the fact that in the last two years or so, the involvement of marketing and PR departments in building new sales strategies (generating leads) has gone down sharply. Perhaps this is due to the decline in expectations of management towards marketing and PR. Or it is the fact that the sales ground is still somewhat unstable, and marketing departments would rather not tread on it unless they absolutely have to.


Areas of activity of PR and marketing in Polish companies

“Analysing the areas where marketing and PR work most actively, strategy reigns as usual, next is promotion/sales, e-marketing, and public relations. Only e-marketing shows an increase in activity compared to 2013, and the biggest drop in activity is visible in CSR. As for budgets, in most companies they are to remain at the same level (57%). It is worth noting that 34% of companies declare an increase in expenditure in this area (8% more than in 2013).” – said Adam Sanocki.


Performance evaluation – “no, thank you”

PR and marketing in Polish companies do not, as a rule, use indicators to measure the effectiveness of their operations. As many as 71% of companies (an increase of 8% compared to 2013), declare that they do not use any criteria and rely only on their own judgment. Where indicators are used, these are the most common indicators of sales.

“As in the previous edition of the survey, these are the most surprising findings. They are showing that in fact, in most marketing and PR departments companies operate intuitively. Their decisions do not result from an analysis of the effectiveness of the actions they take.” – said Adam Sanocki.


Global trends versus local conditions

The world is changing, and so are consumers. The gap between digital natives and digital immigrants is widening, and the two groups look for information in different places and process it differently. There’s the attention crash phenomenon, and the new way our customers make purchasing decisions. So do these new trends impact marketing and PR departments?

This year’s research shows that the vast majority of companies in Poland (88%) have not heard of the concept of inbound marketing. And out of those who have heard of it, as many as 66% say that it isn’t part of their marketing strategy (0%). One may be tempted to say that marketing in Polish companies sometimes cannot keep up with new solutions.

“Are Polish companies shifting the burden of communication activities from empty adjectives describing how great they are to activities that provide value to those with whom they want to communicate? How many of them wonder how to communicate with their current and potential customers so that their products or services – and therefore marketing and PR – respond to the real needs of customers and solve their problems? That might be something to think about during our next study.” – concludes Adam Sanocki.

The article is based on results of a study conducted by PMR and ComPress Publishing on PR and marketing in Polish companies.

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