Updated: Mar 28
Struggling to find the right marketing agency for your business? Not sure how to differentiate a decent public relations firm from a great one?
There’s definitely no shortage of advice on Google. Hubspot’s ‘Ultimate Guide to RFPs or Trendkite’s advice on what you should expect from public relations and its practitioners in the digital age are more than a great start.
However, marketing is taking center stage in the boardroom and more stakeholders are entering the picture. What is obvious or important to some, is not to others. Add to this the pressure that many teams are under to scale the business at unpreceded speed, or where they operate in an environment with outdated expectations or slanted views towards #marketing and/or #publicrelations.
So what makes a great agency match? We asked industry experts and influencers to share the love.
Show me the money!
In any #PR agency or partner there must be market awareness, relationships forged, a sense of innovation and scalability. Having the right knowledge or awareness of a particular client or partner's field is essential to the success. For example, if I'm doing PR for actors in Hollywood I probably don't want to be pitched something going on in the high tech industry. Relationships are key to a successful PR campaign. The right influencers have become more difficult to reach so innovative approaches have become extremely important. Around 72 percent of journalists say PR professionals can improve by tailoring the pitch to suit their beats/coverage. A firm or partner must be on the cutting edge of new and creative trends in order to engage journalists and their client's target market. Finally, there's the data. I was reading that around 39 percent of journalists reported that they use analytics daily to understand the effectiveness of their content. An additional 22 percent do that weekly and a further 19 percent monthly. It's imperative that a firm or partner is scalable in their approach so that they can stay to the forefront of their client's needs. It's pretty simple, leverage the digital PR tools and technologies that are available in order to show true impact of your earned media, use them to chart the course for successful PR and marketing campaigns and at the end of the day show true measurable ROI from the PR and/or communications function.
Are you committed?
I’d look at what the agency is doing in terms of a blog or #socialmedia. Some evidence that they are engaged with the subject matter other than writing press releases. Also, of course, in a technical area some indication they understand the field. When I was doing Windows in Financial Services, I would occasionally draw a blank when I asked a PR person what operating system the app ran on ...
Are we exclusive?
First, what is their reach to help get my brand out there? What channels are they using and who in their network can they leverage to extend my reach? Secondly, I’d like to know who in their portfolio is similar to my needs and have they helped (currently or prior) – and what do those programs looks like? I want a team that helps me understand what my strategy will look like, what the objective is and what it will yield. Basically, will the agency be doing something no one else is doing or are they only leveraging current social media or outreach platforms to help?
There's plenty of fish in the sea. Keep it simple!
Let's face it. There's no shortage of agencies to choose from. Worse yet, it's harder than ever to suss out the "great" from the "good enough". There's one simple way to help whittle down your choices. Ask them what their unfair advantage is. Maybe they point out an incredible process. Or a significant head start in technology. Or deep connections in the industry. Or maybe they can't think of anything. Either way, your decision becomes that much clearer.
it's a two-way street
Look for a partner who understands your business goals. If they’re not familiar with your business or industry then take the time to educate them. This is important as then they can serve as a natural extension of your strategy.
Are you a keeper?
Look for a team that has deep domain skills in your chosen industry vertical AND has worked with similar software companies in the recent past. Having just one of those skills would not be enough to quickly develop a viable GTM and AR/PR plan.
Have you found your perfect agency match? What’s your advice? #Sharethelove and send us your thoughts and feedback.