The economy is just now beginning to take a toll on the tech sector and as a result, PR firms that service the industry are beginning to feel the

impact, especially the traditional agencies, as shown in the recent article published by

PR Week http://www.prweekus.com/Firms-wait-out-retainer-freeze-from-clients/article/123601/.   

 

We have in fact gone head to head in bakeoffs with many of the larger agencies reporting staff reductions and shrinking portfolios.  The market for the most part has been convinced a PR budget under 20K is not worthwhile.  This is an institutional myth that has to change.  When I worked for two global PR agencies we had huge account budgets but these were for global publicly traded companies that make sense. However, one size agency doesn’t fit all no matter how you slice the pie.

 

Flipping the Agency Model Upside Down

Gone are the days you can pad a PR team with account executives and justify

that 80 percent of the work was billable to a person with a handful years of experience, needless to say minimum 10K retainers for a bare bones account.

Add on top of that additional expenses, service fees and third party markups

at 15 percent no wonder agencies can get a bad rap. 

 

The Loughlin/Michaels Group was formed in the post .com bubble in 2001.

Originally an independent consulting group we evolved into a boutique technology agency servicing enterprise and eventually Web 2.0 companies. With a majority of our early clients coming from VC connections creating focused and scalable services was critical.   A one size all PR agency doesn’t work for start ups and typically, especially retainers heading towards 10K and infinity.  We created the Jump Start Program

(http://www.lmgpr.com/lmg_pr_jump_start_program.html which allows us to develop a custom program for a quick surge of PR.  Early adopters of the

Jump Start were Cyclades (Aquired by Avocent), NetScaler (Acquired by

Citrix), Enkoo (Aquried by Sonicwall).  These clients had one thing in

common–Great technology but restricted budgeted. The Jump Start program allowed us to assign a senior PR consultant with a minimum of ten years of experience that could quickly ramp up the program and get results.  This allows us to leverage our junior team members only on clients that have the luxury of a 10K or greater account. Even then 80 percent of the work is going to be done by the most senior member.   We know for a fact that we can produce more for less for our clients. So the fact that many agencies are reducing headcounts but not allowing their clients to reduce their budgets in exchange is troubling. 

 

Are you ready to reduce your PR budget while increasing your visibility and

possibly revenue?   Here’s our fool-proof advice.

 

1. Hire a PR agency that believes in your vision. This will go a long way

when times are tough.

 

2. Focus on programs that are most important to your bottom line

i.e. channel programs, customer case studies or new product introduction

 

3. Outsource only what you can do in house.

i.e. customer references, white paper development, speaking submissions

 

4.  Use social media vs. traditional press release methods allowing you to

eliminate news wire fees.

i.e. Try Twitter, blogs and leverage Facebook when possible

 

4. Eliminate costly services such as Burrells, Meltwater and daily news

feeds by using Filtrbox which is Google on steroids and easy and affordable

to use.  Yep for the price of a couple of fancy coffees per month you can

get all the news you can drink…and be smarter than the next guys.