PRSA Boston 2015 Predictions: Do Goldfish Really Have a Longer Attention Span Than Humans?

Average attention span: a human… eight seconds. A goldfish…nine seconds. Thank you so much, Peter Prodromou, President, Racepoint Global, and team for hosting the PRSA Boston 2015 Predictions event on January 15. You seemed like such a great guy in the panelist pre-meeting with my boss Grant Ho, VP of Marketing at NaviNet, Inc.; Mark McClennan, APR, PRSA National Chair-Elect and Senior Vice President, Social Media Services, for MSLGROUP; and moderator Stephen Quigley, APR, Associate Professor, Boston University. But Peter, now Grant knows…and reviews are in two weeks. Thanks, buddy.


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Despite the icy roads, the PRSA Boston drew quite a crowd to glean competitive insights for 2015. The key themes are applicable to every business with customers. After an introduction by PRSA President Josh Gitelson, Executive Managing Director, RF|Binder, Stephen opened the panel by discussing how media relations professionals must evolve to be valued partners to stakeholders. The challenge: Are we ready to change?

As Mark rightly pointed out, the industry is at an inflection point. “Something new” has to be created because media relations teams have to earn their seats at the table.

(1)    Articulate a business strategy. Mark warned that complacency is the biggest threat to agencies. Be a strategic business consultant who embraces math and is not afraid to reinvent self to think business first and then wrap the media strategy around the business goals. Provide clear counsel, push back on customers, and test their understanding of what they think they want. Do not be afraid of failing because there are no silver bullets…but learn from your failures.

(2)    Integrate marketing. Public relations, advertising, and digital marketing have to be integrated, highly emotive, and interactive. According to Peter, the agency or organization or person who defines how social marketing influences behavior will drive industry. Become deeply familiar with customers through understanding their behavior and connections through tools. Social is the connective tissue, but as Peter stressed, we must tie social results to sales. State-of-the-art tools, identifying key metrics, and delivering results will win engagement.

(3)    Deliver the ROI. Customers will demand measurement, analytics, rigor, and depth in 2015. From a client perspective, Grant is all about tying integrated marketing efforts to revenues. Marketing professionals have to bring all of their efforts together with an elastic band that doesn’t break. Leads must convert into opportunities that become customers who are deeply emotional about and loyal to a brand and organization. Measure against the competition.

Back to the goldfish…The average lifespan of a pet goldfish is five to ten years, Peter. Your birthday is on…

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