Every year, we survey our members to understand not only their budget and staffing levels but also their resource allocation choices. Many thanks to the scores of member organizations who participated! The results can be revealing as to executive priorities, especially when you look at them over time.
Three observations stand out in particular:
- After a sharp decline in 2009, Communications budgets as a percent of company revenue are largely back to pre-recession levels. This suggests long-term stability in terms of Communications’ role. Survey respondents in 2011 were less optimistic about next year’s budget level than in prior years, likely due to concerns about near-term company growth.
- Over the last several years, Communications executives have shifted resources away from marketing, advertising, and investor communications and towards other external activities such as public affairs, media relations, and the corporate Web site. Given a related trend of decoupling Marketing and Communications budgets, this suggests more specialization of roles within the company: Marketing owning advertising, Finance owning investor communications. A by-product of this trend is that more of the total Communications budget goes to staff rather than agencies or suppliers.
- Communications departments are slowly but surely becoming more centralized. As with all organizational trends, it is difficult to say whether this trend will be enduring or whether the pendulum will swing back at some point. But CEC members articulate a growing need for consistency as information spreads so easily around the globe, which suggests that at least some level of centralization is more than just a fad. Check out our latest toolkit for managing Communications activities in a global organization.
Have you seen any of these trends at play in your organization? Please share!
CEC members can access our 2011 budget and organization benchmarks.
These include not only a summary of our 2011 survey results but also:
- A *brand new* tool to let you query our database directly
- Helpful resources for addressing specific budget line items and issues
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