The Data Revolution and Public Relations

Disruption is the overused word of our time. But it’s important to consider why it’s so frequent, and what thinkers and observers are predicting it means for whatever industry you inhabit.
In the blurred focus areas of communications, public relations and marketing, disruption hinges on better use of more and better data. An obvious statement, yes; eliciting a true “of course we’ve been doing that” reaction in many conversations I’ve had. What has changed? What is different now?
As Internet ubiquity has grown, data collection has followed suit. As has our ability to sift through data, understand data, and derive insights from data. There is a direct relationship between the breadth of communications needs and services and the rise of processor speed, the sophistication of digital storage, the commoditization of data collection and analysis, and the proliferation of the web into everything from phones to cars to cameras to refrigerators. Where is PR and marketing going as a result? What are the signals coming from futurists and industry watchers?
What does the data revolution mean for communications, marketing, and public relations?
I prepared this short brief intended to answer this question. It’s a high-level overview of the dominant theme of data in public relations, marketing, and communications. The intended audience is communications professionals and senior executives wanting a survey of what’s happening now and what’s close around the corner.