Put your money where your mouth is – Why effective B2B PR is all about results, not excuses
Newcomers to a results-based PR model run the risk of championing an approach that amounts to little more than a marketing gimmick. For this reason, clients should not only expect a results-based approach from their agencies but also question whether or not they are prepared to provide robust performance targets from the outset.
These should be based not just on activity and the outputs from those activities, but also linked to real business outcomes – i.e. sales and revenue. Taking this a step further, agencies should also be prepared to provide formal service level agreements for clients that place financial penalties on their firms if they fail to deliver.
Under pressure from clients and other agencies, recently, more firms have been waking up to the fact that the old model of selling time without commitment to activity and results is outdated and unlikely to impress. Clients want tangible outcomes, not excuses, which is why progressive PR firms have been using and championing a results-based PR approach for some years.
Timesheets in particular are archaic and of absolutely no interest to clients. Having teams of generalists, rather than specialists who produce varying qualities of work is also very unsatisfactory. Which is why work should be structured around the strengths and skills of individual staff – an approach Whiteoaks has been delivering for the last 15 years.
Some agencies are now rolling out this skills-based model as a selling point while others are holding back because they think specialists are too difficult to recruit. In fact, experience shows the opposite is true – as well as achieving a higher quality of deliverables, people welcome the opportunity to do what they enjoy the most and are strongest at.
In conjunction with skills-based delivery, a broad set of communications tools, techniques, channels and content is required to engage with multiple audiences.
In the modern day communications landscape ‘cutting through the noise’ has never been more challenging. There are an abundance of traditional and new media channels. Increasingly, audiences have shorter attention spans and expect content to be tailored and even personalised for their specific requirements.
Having profiled and prioritised target audiences for clients, an effective approach defines the most effective channels to engage these audiences, the specific communications objectives (per audience type) and, importantly, the types of content that will be compelling for each type of end-audience.
While it might seem like a brave new world to some, it’s only in recognising and measuring the direct relationship between outputs, outcomes, perceptions and audience awareness that you can truly influence the clients’ sales cycle and achieve tangible results.
For further information, please visit www.whiteoaks.co.uk
Twitter: @WhiteoaksPRLinkedin: Whiteoaks
James Kelliher, chairman and CEO, Whiteoaks
Linkedin: James Kelliher