Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Broader Perspective Revealed

Here is something most public relations agency heads will be loathe to acknowledge. I will never know a client’s business as well as the company’s executive and marketing leadership.

That’s because a client is hip deep in the issues, news, trends and gossip of their industry. As an external consultant, my time is allocated across a set of engagements. I bring market expertise to every relationship, yet often rely on the client for ongoing education and direction about the nuances of their business.

An agency’s most significant value derives from the broader perspective and context it is able to provide about how a client will potentially be impacted by macro-trends. How will a hot issue in the enterprise market possibly play out in the public sector? Are the social media tactics employed to promote an information security solution relevant to a purveyor of enterprise software?

It is our responsibility at Strategic Communications Group (Strategic) to provide this insight to assist in both strategic planning and tactical execution. It’s the difference between being a respected counselor versus a spinner of press releases.

Industry conferences present the ideal setting to visit with marketing leaders to discuss their thoughts on priorities and programs. These conversations contribute to my body of knowledge and, in turn, allow me to more successfully fill the counselor role.

Last month at the Satellite 2009 conference in Washington, DC, I spent time with Toni Lee Rudnicki (CMO at iDirect) and Joe Amor of Microspace Communications Corporation.

Here’s a link to a video with highlights from each interview:

Live at Satellite 2009 (three minutes)

While in different segments of the satellite industry, Toni Lee and Joe face a similar challenge: how to grow their addressable market through new applications of the company’s technology, while maintaining an intimate connection with existing customers.

I’m thinking quite a bit these days about this dilemma, how iDirect and Microspace are meeting the challenge head on, and, most important, what it means for Strategic’s clients.


Paul Maher, director Positive Marketing said...

Marc, I think you are right that the wider perspective is one advantage that a non-corporate PR shop adds. This applies even more in Europe with its myriad cultures and now very different country-by-country reactions to economic woes.

This level of service though, is a luxury which large agencies with plush offices, water-tight multi-year contracts, fat salaries and shareholders to pay cannot think about.

It is a question of motivation. Small shops have more to gain from the success of their clients, large ones from the continuation of a largeer number of existing relationships, with or without value added. See my blog for more value from (smaller) PR shops or check out to get in contact with a 'broader perspective' and hungry European agency.

Anonymous said...

I like the point of view. I used to work for a boss who told every client, "We'll get to know your business as well as you do." I always thought it was an insult to make a claim like that.

But surely you mean "nuances" of their businesses, not "nuisances."

Marc Hausman said...

@anonymous -- thanks for catching the typo. Yes..."nuances".