Investments in audience engagement
The choice of communications channels will remain key to reaching the right stakeholders at the right time. Communicators report budget increases in social media, media relations, corporate website, corporate social responsibility and executive communications, four of which increase target external audiences. Social media is the only activity with no reported budget decrease for 2019.
Companies continue to invest in communication skills training for their employees
Internal investments in measurement activities and communications training
The percentage of communicators responsible for measurement and monitoring continue to grow. In 2018, 82.8% of communicators report being engaged in measurement and monitoring activities. This percentage has more than doubled in the past two years, now at 3.9% of total communication budget, excluding marketing and advertising, corporate social responsibility, charitable active and corporate sponsorships.
Communicators see an increase in their budgets for activities related to development and training. Companies continue to invest in communications skills training for their employees, with 87.1% reporting engagement with these activities. The percentage of the budget dedicated to leader/manager communications training has more than doubled in the past four years.
The evolution of the role
The communications function is increasingly evolving from strict order-taker to a strategic partner. Communicators’ responsibilities are now more specialized and delineated from other business activities to drive value. To deliver high value, the average communications function is responsible for roughly four fewer activities now than 10 years ago. Communicators expect to invest internally at a higher rate than externally.
Forty-three percent of communicators expect more resources for staff expenses in 2019, approximately twice the amount expected for non-staff and vendor budgets. Leaders also anticipate staff budgets to increase by more than 3%, while non-staff and vendor may decrease. Communication functions must appropriately spend and allocate resources to provide measurable, high value to the organization in support of their business objectives.
Gartner annually surveys more than 100 heads of communications to provide insight into budget and staff resource allocation across the communication function.
This article has been updated from the original, published on August 17, 2018, to reflect new events, conditions or research.