Centralising your tech B2B PR – can you afford not to?
We’ve all experienced the cyclical impact of the highs and lows of the economy on our business and ultimately during a low, the first thing to be affected tends to be the marketing and PR budget. Companies who have traditionally enjoyed bigger budgets and local PR agency representation in each territory they operate in are suddenly required to cut back, forcing them to pursue a more centralised communications strategy. There can of course be no real substitute for “feet on the ground”, however, well-coordinated PR deployment from a central point can be incredibly successful but more importantly, a really cost-effective way of delivering quality Public Relations.
Is it really that expensive?
From a cost standpoint, if we were to draw up a rough analysis of a global direct representation model with a “lead” or “hub” agency you would be looking at approximately E900K per year spent on PR.
Let’s break this down into local PR agency fees: E4K/month and at least E13.5K is the amount you would pay to the lead agency just for managing the network! Plus the cost of the central marketing department managing the agencies….it all adds up.
Aside from the financial cost, our belief is that this model falls down at a human level too – trying to coordinate a unified, consistent message when dealing with multiple languages and cultures is tricky at best. When you also consider that all of these agencies are reaching out to hundreds of journalists, then you can imagine the confusion and lack of consistency which can occur, resulting in a fragmented and wholly unprofessional brand image.
What’s the alternative?
In our experience, for the past 20 (and certainly the last 10 years) we have found that by creating material centrally, by highly specialist native speakers who have years of experience in working with the media in their country, and approaching stakeholders in their local language - you can be impactful, control messages and flow and most importantly operate on a reasonable budget. If we look at a rough budget analysis for a centralised PR model, we would see typically one agency retainer: E20K/month.
In a centralised model, say for example you are reaching out to 30 countries - all those countries talk to just one agency who reports back to the client. There are less lines of reporting and human intervention which ultimately means clearer messaging and a sharper way of working. If those 30 countries all had individual agencies approaching thousands of journalists, there is huge margin for error and loss of clarity.
Centralisation shortens the lines of communication and allows a PR agency to become an extension of the client, operating seamlessly and integrating easily into the organisation. Additionally, for companies with complex technical products, there is a far more accurate interpretation of data, particularly if working with a specialised technical agency.
De-centralised PR model vs TAG's centralised PR model
So where’s the catch?
There are of course exceptions to every rule and in certain countries, like Turkey for example, where PR is a relatively new discipline and you simply cannot act remotely - you need to have local language materials and an on-the-ground presence. However, the local agency here is managed by the European agency and not the client. Therefore this is seamless for the client and it means only one agency will report to them with the overall European PR results.
There is not a “one size fits all” solution but rather a customisable approach which takes the best of centralisation and integrates the need for local representation, the point being that at the end of the day if you need to reach out to a plethora of markets, you do not need a blue chip budget to have a blue chip impact.
Free download of our 'Centralising your tech B2B PR' infographic can be found in our B2B Marketing Insights (left hand side of this page).
Sylvia Laws, Managing Director, Technical Associates Group (TAG)