I read an article today from PR Week about how PR agencies are better positioned to take on social media:
“Of the 78 respondents, 90 per cent said they thought PR agencies were the best-placed marketing discipline to do work in social media.”
Ofcourse there is a danger the article is biast towards PR, but 90% is still a very high number that needs to be taken seriously.
I get it! It does make sense even though as a digital professional I sit on the other side of the table. Let’s look at the digital industry:
- Web design and build agencies are about getting users quick and easy around a website
- Digital Marketing is about quick wins; Deploy fast; scream and conquer; disappear even faster
Both disciplines are about speed wins, either as users navigating to their goals or as ads selling above other things shouting for the users attention.
PR to me is different: It is about building longer relationships and it is about conversation as in listening, learning from listening and responding.
For many digital agencies social media is about the channels Facebook, Twitter, Blog etc. For some of the better ones it is also about personas and user groups. But digital agencies are used to dealing with projects with a defined life span. They are used to package and deliver stuff. Done and dusted.. bring the next one!
PR has an interest in creating a longer-term, ongoing conversation which can result in both a retainer contract with a client or consultancy services to review client’s inhouse efforts on a regular basis because the client is also interested in keeping the conversation going. Both contracts creates a relationship with the client to help their relationship with their customers. Great for the cash flow and a win win situation for everybody.
Can the digital industry do this?
Ofcourse we can!
But we need to start thinking about solutions in open-ended continuous steps rather than boxed-in projects.
We need to have a plan extending far beyond the first simple project we’ve been asked to deliver. What do we suggest the client next? Where do we want to take their audience next? Where do the audience want to go next?
This plan will be an agency investment. But it will be a roadmap of suggested steps/projects that one after another will enforce the success of the whole solution making the agency an irreplaceable partner to client because even if you showed the roadmap to the client, it would still have to be updated regularly to react to the flow of the customers’ movements.