PR pros say data-driven strategy is essential to building lasting client-agency partnerships

As a follow-up to last week’s post, “Why do client-agency relationships fail?” here is a look at how – according to PR professionals – measurement can be used to improve client-agency partnerships…

Wallop! OnDemand asked 150 PR pros (a mix of corporate and agency practitioners) to answer the question, “How can agencies use measurement to help make agency-client relationships more successful?” Responses showed:

  • 40% suggested agencies provide strategy recommendations based on measurement and analysis
  • 21.5% said agencies should use measurement charts, data and results to make PR achievements clear
  • 17% said agencies need to deliver regular reports to create more transparency about PR’s progress
  • 13% felt agencies should use measurement insights to develop a more efficient/budget friendly PR program
  • 5.5% said agencies should leverage competitor measurement data to help their clients be more competitive

These are all good examples of how measurement can be used to improve PR results and, therefore, business relationships. It is not surprising that the number one response to this question relates to PR strategy. After all, clients expect strategic counsel as part of their PR services. Plus, agencies need laser focused strategies in order to ensure programs are efficient and effective. However, it is interesting to note that only one-third of industry professionals say their team uses measurement data to develop and adjust PR strategy. Clearly, agencies and clients recognize that data-driven PR strategy is important. But, it appears more agency teams need to follow their own recommendations, and actually use measurement, if they want to have stronger client-agency partnerships. And, clients need to make sure measurement is a factor when deciding which agency to hire.

Is your PR team using measurement to develop/improve PR strategy? Has that impacted your client-agency relationship? Let us know.

Why do PR client-agency relationships fail?

Wallop! OnDemand recently asked 150 PR professionals to answer the question “Why do client-agency relationships fail?” Just over half of the responses came from corporate PR professionals, while the rest were given by those working at PR agencies. Here’s what they said:

33% – PR agencies fail to research and understand clients and their business needs/objectives

21.5% – Clients don’t “see” results, even when they are there – agency/client teams aren’t packaging results appropriately

18.5% – Poor communication causes grievances to fester – problems/frustrations on the client side aren’t communicated with the agency until it is too late to make adjustments or corrections

18% – Lack of creativity and fresh thinking on the agency side

9% – Over-servicing by the agency leads to low profitability and an underappreciated agency team (not to mention a client with unrealistic expectations of deliverables)

One thing that I think is significant about these responses is that, according to these PR professionals, two of the top three reasons why client-agency relationships fail stem from poor communication. I’ve said before that transparency is needed in order to make client-agency relationships last. These responses confirm that. Without transparency surrounding PR results, clients won’t see the value of PR, and agencies won’t be able to respond to client concerns.

Here is how agency PR pros and clients can promote transparency and strengthen their relationships:

Agency pros – you can take the lead and promote transparency by putting measurement in place and using it to collect and share information. Use reports, charts and other data to routinely show clients evidence that PR is meeting goals and helping achieve business objectives. As you track PR’s progress, keep clients informed of significant accomplishments and achievements. Your clients will have more faith in PR if they have proof that things are moving in the right direction.

Clients – don’t hesitate to ask your agency to be more transparent. Let them know that you value information and would like to be able to access coverage data, analytics, and business intelligence to help you make informed decisions about your business strategy. Depending on how your agency monitors PR results, they may be able to offer you access to a portal where you can easily view details about PR activities, coverage results, etc. Work with your agency to create a level of transparency you are comfortable with.

To see more ways clients and agencies can strengthen their business partnerships, download the Wallop! OnDemand white paper: Secrets of Successful Client-Agency Relationships.

A simple way agencies can strenghten new business pitches

Agency pros: Are you including measurement into new business pitches? I hope you are nodding your head yes right now. If you think about it, making measurement part of new business presentations should be a no-brainer. More than half of RFPs now include measurement. To improve your odds of securing new clients for your agency, you need to put measurement into all of your future pitches. Here is one example of how to do it:

Present competitive data and show that your agency is prepared to leverage coverage results and analytics for both the prospective client and its competitors.

Potential clients want to know how well you understand their brand, its competitors, and the business space. Show them! Before you pitch, do some basic monitoring of the brand’s competitors. That way you will be prepared to show your knowledge of the competition. As you put together your new business presentation, include a few nuggets of competitive data in the pitch. Point out what the client’s competitors are doing PR wise, and what impact it is having. For example, maybe a competitor recently launched a new product. Find and share coverage data pertaining to that launch, sales figures for the new product, or other relevant information. Explain that your agency’s services include monitoring competitors and analyzing competitive data. Let clients know that by studying this data you’ll be able to help them understand whether they are an industry leader or if they need to step up their game.

Clients will be impressed if you’ve done your homework and can teach them something about competitors, rather than them having to explain the competitive landscape to you. Make it a point to highlight how measurement increases your agency’s readiness to respond to competitive threats and seize opportunities to close sales gaps, increase market share and so on. By getting this right, you can create a need for your agency’s services and get ahead of other agencies that do not employ measurement.

Watch for more on this topic in future posts. Until then, I just want to mention that Wallop! OnDemand is conducting a brief survey on PR and measurement, and we are giving away a $200 Visa gift card to one lucky survey participant. Head on over here  and check it out. Thanks in advance for your participation.

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