I work with a lot of mid-sized company owners and non-profit leaders in Indianapolis that I’m proud to call clients. They all have a simple goal in the communications/public relations we undertake together–design and manage tools that generate ROI. There’s one simple personal goal I have in mind to do this–honesty in counsel and fair rates for service. That doesn’t mean I’m cheap or give away ideas; It means I’m fair in business.
Nearly 13 years in business (July 1 is HPR’s anniversary), I’ve seen this happen over and over. Business owners want to develop communications tools, but often end up over paying, in my opinion, for something this isn’t going to provide consistent and long-term results to grow the business. The Internet may be driving public relations today, but it doesn’t mean the philosophies and processes used to create the tools should cost more with short-term planning. Before engaging in a contract ask questions to be sure the investment will drive ROI, support the sales team and be solid for long-term success.
- How much is this going to cost? Get a proposal and understand what you’re buying.
- What happens after the tool is created, event is done, message is out?
- How will this tool you’re buying sustain long-term marketing/communications and public relations?
- Is this the best way to spend my marketing/communications budget for long-term success? Are there other options?
- How will I measure the success?
- Is this public relations company an extension of my team or here for a one-time project? (Either way it’s ok. Just be sure you understand each other before jumping into the expense.)
- Don’t be afraid to ask a professional’s honest opinion. They may strategically be considering an idea that would support your goals, but without opening the door for advice, hesitate to give professional counsel.
Here’s a recent story where a smart business owner considered options before making any investment.
I”m working with a new mid-sized business client. The company has been in business for over 20 years. The owner is a specialist in his field, but not in marketing. Like many businesses, the recession took a toll on his bottom line. He’s bouncing back and ready to invest in growth. As we began to discuss the best way to invest marketing dollars it became apparent that the tools being used need some housekeeping. The brand is great. The message is there. His place is very credible. There are just arms and legs all over the place in terms of marketing/communications tools that have been built and added onto over the years.
The first meeting the client talked about creating a one-shot event to bring in new customers. We priced it. It was expensive for a company of his size. As a smart business owner he asked the question, “Is this one shot deal worth it?” And like a good PR Pro I first responded, “Do you want my honest advice?” He did.
Heck no! Spend the money on clean up, planning and consistent communications/marketing. For the same cost, we can come in to strategically undertake housekeeping and create a plan in partnership that will be designed to bring in new business. We can drive those offers and messages to bring in new business every week, not in just day.