PR agencies in every market in every country have clients who are extremely demanding and/or unreasonably difficult. Conversely, clients assume the agency is dithering rather than being committed to quick resolution and development of its communication plan.
This two-way misinterpretation is not helpful for either the client or the PR agency.
A 2015 study by the Association of National Advertisers (AHA) revealed that 87 percent of clients and 86 percent of agencies believe they have a highly effective working relationship that delivers value. Working closely together over a long period of time then would seem to be the most conductive approach.
Here are three things that can create problems:
- A lack of accountability from the agency side
Agency clients are demanding better reporting based on true metrics like lead generation, lead conversion and any sales opportunities that have materialized. As clients’ spend through outsourced PR can be a significant burden to the whole marketing budget, it is entirely reasonable to expect that KPIs and metrics are quickly and clearly reported.
- Poor consulting or information forwarding (on either side…)
Problems arise when not enough communication occurs between client and agency. This can be because the PR consultants are busy dealing with other things, or it could be that the client is unavailable for days or weeks at a time. Too much communication can also occur and is equally damaging; 10pm calls from clients trying to escalate urgent issues that they’ve just that moment thought of don’t help.
- Agency evolution to meet future demands of clients
As per the same AHA study, only 56 percent of clients “believe that agencies have the right talent to meet their needs over the next two years”.
It is incumbent on agencies to be constantly self-schooling in evolving technologies and new industries, and to hire staff capable of supporting this forward momentum to best serve client needs.
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