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State of the PR Industry: Technology is the Catalyst for M&A

State of the PR Industry: Technology is the Catalyst for M&A

By Darin Wolter, Executive Vice President, Global Sales

With the rapid pace of new technology available to public relations professionals – from social media monitoring and analytics tools that provide competitive insight for both agency and client, to platform-based, all-in-one communications platforms and cloud-based campaign management software that boost effectiveness and save time – change has become a constant. If you don’t adapt and evolve, then you may become irrelevant and cease to exist.

You may have seen the recent news that Vocus has agreed to be bought by private equity firm GTCR Valor Merger Sub Inc. for roughly $447 million.  In addition, last week’s Bulldog Reporter article outlined a series of rumored acquisitions in the PR services industry, specifically media database company Cision being identified as participating acquisition discussions, while media monitoring companies Gorkana and Precise are mulling buyout deals of their own.

In other words, the PR industry is about to experience another round of consolidation and the technology that helps communicators succeed in today’s evolving media landscape is the driving force. As a service provider, you have two options: you can either innovate and thrive, or sit idle and become irrelevant. Technology provides the opportunity to move forward with new solutions, challenge conventional practices and drive positive change.

At Marketwired, we’ve seen these vast technological changes on the press release distribution side of our business.  For years, simply sending news releases over wires generated a majority of our company’s revenue. We were known as wire service provider and competed with other wire service providers for a share of the wire service market.

However, in 2006, technology altered the value proposition.  Distribution, the core of our business was, no longer the primary driver.  Search engine optimization (SEO), multimedia, integration with IR platforms and yes, the early days of social, began to dominate the conversation. The wire service’s value proposition had evolved and customers began expecting more from their wire service partners. The conversation shifted from “where do I distribute my news announcement,” to “how can I package my message to drive conversation?” Technology was the catalyst in creating this change.

The end result led to a movement offering next-level service, which allowed some communication providers to thrive as industry leaders, while others either shut their doors or became targets for acquisition.

Fast forward to 2014: today, advancements in technology have altered the news distribution space; the advent of social media and other innovations have turned antiquated wire services into more modern, “social communications” companies.  Today’s technology-driven market demands that companies like Marketwired offer a full suite of services to fortify the news release. Brand managers demand the integration of research, targeting tools, multi-channel distribution, traditional and social monitoring, and influencer identification with their news distribution services. Most importantly – they also need measurement and accountability.  It’s all about the ROI. The emergence of social media has allowed PR to be objectively measured in a way that the Internet-enabled marketing programs were once measured in the late 1990s.

What does this all mean?  As times have changed, brands are demanding more from PR service companies. If you adapt and evolve, then you will be much more useful and effective in your role as a service provider.


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1 Comment on State of the PR Industry: Technology is the Catalyst for M&A

Micael Granberg said : Guest Report 2 years ago

I also use ideals data room in my work.

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