How to Select a Public Relations and Marketing Firm

There are infinite ways to spend your advertising, public relations and marketing dollars, but only a few will pay off. How do you know which strategies will work? Once you decide, how do you make them work? Often, professional marketers and public relations specialists can help.

What to expect

Marketers should help you excel. They should know your market position and understand your key advantages and weaknesses. They should examine your current business development strategies and identify opportunities for leadership and staff. They should identify potential crises and, if necessary, help you navigate through them. They should shape solutions that fit your unique profile.

When you begin working with marketers, share a profile of your organization, its mission, key markets, issues of concern, evaluation of current and past marketing efforts and any market or public opinion research about your organization. Also, assemble an inventory of your public outreach, budget and commitment parameters, pertinent litigation and any special circumstances that would affect the marketing program

When and how to select a public relations and marketing firm

For established companies, the best time to consult a marketing and public relations firm is when change is afoot; for a new company, it is prior to launch.

When selecting an agency, be sure its principal will be directly involved in serving you; that the firm offers a range of services; that its professionals have sufficient depth of qualifications; that if it doesn’t have the talent on staff, it can recruit outside experts with whom it has a track record of success. It is important that the firm spends the time to understand you, your goals and your company; that its learning curve is relatively short; and that it works efficiently and effectively, requiring but respecting your time.

Ask the marketers how they approach a challenge, how they analyze problems and opportunities. Do they think strategically? Different goals for different parts of your business may require multiple approaches. Do the marketers possess the agility to apply their knowledge and experience to your unique situation?

A trumpet and a hearing aid

Effective marketers should help you promote your business and present for your benefit input and intelligence from your clients, customers, competitors and industry. They need to articulate well, know how to listen and ask the right questions.

Finally, chemistry is important: Can you get along? Is there personal rapport? Are you able to brainstorm with them? Do they propose or stimulate new ideas? Are they flexible? Do you have a shared sense of mission?

Business management and the methods of delivering goods and services are rapidly evolving. You’ll have no shortage of those willing – for a fee – to help market your business.

But there are differences. Exceptional marketers will possess an abundance of experience, training and imagination. They will understand your business as it is now and help realize its full potential.

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