Several times a year, we see a burst of new business inquires coming from satisfied client referrals and/or our industry reputation and experience. While part of the discussion certainly involves our sharing of how we work and what sets us apart from the array of tech PR agencies out there, we also evaluate client prospects to determine if they are a good candidate as a long-term client and are truly at a point where PR will make an impact. As a boutique agency, we must be mindful of the types of clients we engage. Any good agency will readily admit that the first 3-4 months of a new engagement are not profitable as so much time is spent getting ingrained in the business goals, key differentiators, vision, and subject matter experts voices. The client side investment also is quite considerable in the beginning.
Whether you are a CEO, VP of Marketing or Sales, here are a critical few questions to answer before you embark on an agency search:
1) Do you have a strong sales pipeline that will support an ongoing investment in PR? If losing one to two clients puts you on the brink of reducing head count or turning off the lights, PR is likely not a good investment right now.
2) Are you using PR as the chief marketing and sales tool? If the answer is yes, your PR program and sales could suffer. PR is an incredible way to elevate a company’s brand awareness and visibility but it should be a part of an overall strategic marketing program.
3) Is the executive team on-board? Unless the executive team has bought into the idea of a PR program and understands the commitment they will need to provide to it in the form of knowledge sharing rather than just dollars, an engagement with an agency is doomed to fail from the get-go.
PR can yield tremendous returns for an organization but it requires an investment. Make sure you and your organization are ready for PR before you plan that first vendor phone call.