In order to boost the awareness of our brand by getting more coverage and links from blogs and media, we have send out a very complete and detailed email explaining our efforts, examples, results and achievements in marketing, media and social media to 25 PR agencies. The PR agencies were a mix of large, medium and small sized that mention to have experience in B2B and are into high tech or Internet.
Additionally we dared to ask for a price indication in order to have an idea of budget.
The PR agency selection
Finding PR agencies
In order to select an PR agency we searched the Internet finding agencies and used some lists to get more agencies.
As it seems to be difficult to find PR agencies online, we started wondering how could they ever advice and help on our findability?
Flash intro website
The companies with a Flash based intro making them slow to open were eliminated immediately.
We can’t believe these companies would do any good to our company.
Websites looking dated
If their website looked dated and hardly professional made then we didn’t address to them as we are not into a back to the future experience.
Vague website content
Instead of clearly stating their services on their website, it seems normal in this industry to vaguely describe the services supplied, the methods used and their ability to deliver.
What, how, when (time) and where they do it is mostly left up to your own imagination.
Additionally you won’t find the price of each of their services on their website. It seems NOT DONE in this business.
Hardly respond on email inquiries
On the 25 PR agencies addressed by email only 7 PR agencies replied.
This indicates that:
- They don’t need business
- They don’t like emails with too much information
No content in the reply
Their reply emails were business-like but in the majority of replies they seemed not have read the inquiry email. Hardly any of the reply emails responded to our questions or indicated how they would approach and help solving our issues.
Instead they invited us for a telephone call with one of their important VP’s (making you feel important).
Talk instead of facts
If you are privileged to get a reply, they all want to set-up a telephone call with the very important VP of their company.
Sounds like all their employees are VP’s, except for the one person answering their emails.
Thus instead of replying with facts and figures, they want your time for listening to a sales pitch.
Difficult to get price quotation
You never get a price quotation in the first reply.
Only after asking again they are willing giving you an indication of price. Don’t expect a price list !
Price: monthly retainer
Instead of getting a clear pricing for each of the services that can be provided we got a monthly retainer price which typically starts at $10.000 or $15.000/month. How can one know how much time is spend on your business on this monthly basis ?
- In one reply we achieved getting a daily price ($1.500) with any further details of services.
- In another case we received a detailed pricing structure with rather exaggerated prices for efforts we have experience in ourselves.
High monthly price
As their services start at $10,000 or $15,000, one could as well hire a full-time person for your company, who will work everyday at your office.
Again how will you ever know the $10,000 or more will get you at least 20 days of work done for your company?
Public Relation agency: lucrative business
We are convinced running a PR Agency is a lucrative business as it seems a lot of make believe and smoke-and-mirror magic is happening at PR agencies without much engagement and promises of what will exactly be the results.
Public Relation agencies might just fail to earn it.
As a customer you need to trust them (or not) because you don’t know where is the beef and they mainly ask you to show them the money.
Missing proof and trust
Not a single PR Agency proposed for a free trail of their services.
Tom Fishburne writes: PR is called earned media for a reason. You have to earn it. PR Agencies have to earn their customers too.
Instead they want a contract with a monthly fixed fee: a license to print money.
So we decided not to use a PR Agency yet as we missed proof and trust at a much too high price.
What are your experiences with PR Agencies ?
Do you know what you are paying for ?