Artisan Marketing Communications offers clients PR and marketing communications advice, practical support and implementation.

Monday, April 23, 2007

PR Week publishes 2007 PR agency survey

PR Week has published its 2007 survey on PR agencies, based on the highest fee income earners.

(Unfortunately PR Week has a subscriber only website so I cannot link through).

London PR agencies dominate as you would expect. North West PR agencies are represented although whether they are well-represented is hard to say. A number of agencies including Mason Williams and Paver Smith declined to supply fee income figures and this must apply to agencies throughout the country. Good on you.

Now, any survey in the PR industry is going to be controversial and the usual round of useful insights and denunciations will follow.

There is no survey that really satisfies the agencies or helps clients choose their supplier, that has to be based on personal rapport, enthusiasm, skill, experience and understanding of the clients' business and aims.

We have to say fee income does not necessarily mean better service. Smaller agencies and freelancers can offer very high levels of service and can often be a better option than larger outfits. Indeed, many smaller clients cannot afford big agency fees or often there is not the "fit" with a bigger supplier.

I came across some interesting comments on the 2006 PR Week survey that claim all is not as rosy in the PR garden as the 2007 income based surveys suggest:

  • 44% of PR agencies just break even.
  • Agencies with the healthiest net worth just have £100,000 i.e. in the bank and so a loss of a few clients could be catastrophic
  • Fee income risers still have poor pre-tax margins

The author of the comments Andrew B Smith states that a league table based on net worth / profitability would be much more useful, but who is going to supply those figures?


Anonymous Andrew Smith said...

The figures are easily available - from Companies House - if someone wants to spend a few hundred pounds to get a copy of RiskDisk or similiar and then has the time and inclination to simply do the research, then we'd have that league table......

5:56 AM

Blogger Jim Symcox said...

I think Andrew has hit the nail on the head. If someone had the time and inclination to create the list.

I don't think it's as interesting as fee rates. The reason? Some companies spend money like water on parties, staff pay awards, sculpture and paintings. Not all of which are easily reflected in accounts.

So the easiest figure to use to compare agencies is their fee rate.

Although again that still means nothing as one agency may charge £500 per day and do a project in 2 days whilst another may charge £1,000 per day and get it one in one day - same price to the client!


5:04 AM

Anonymous Rob Artisan said...

If the aim of the survey is to help the prospective client find the best agencies I think they will be disappointed.

Level of service, the member of staff you get, skills and experience can vary with a big agency from account to account, what might be a good agency for one might not be for another.

Moreover, I can think of one multinational agency that has tremendous turnover and has offices in Manchester. I have never heard a good word about them from other agencies, clients or journalists. I cannot say how efficient they are concerning returns. I have had to work with them for my clients twice and they were awful.

These type of lists serve the egos of some, the wrath of others and the curiosity of the remainder. Of course if I come 1st in one I will change my mind


12:59 PM


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