Want to hear something alarming? The number of brands that are choosing to bring PR from agencies to in-house has doubled in the last year from 13% to 27%.
As a former agency owner, this jarrs me. There are several reasons for this trend, which is expected to rise steeply in coming years, and a conversation I had this week with one of our customers explained it perfectly.
"I Feel Like PR is a Black Box"
That's what a customer said to me as he explained why he's pulling the plug on an agency he's used for years. Of the many reasons why he's decided to bring PR in-house (none of which have to do with budget or size of the company), here were his top few:
- Reports aren't useful
- Relationships are being held hostage
- He doesn't know if he's getting the most & best for the budget
Most agencies believe they are already being totally transparent & accountable. My agency did. Then we asked clients what they believed and learned that we too, were keeping a lot of information in the proverbial, and traditional PR black box.
Companies have gotten used to having higher accountability, and therefore higher productivity, across every part of their organization. Especially in sales and marketing.
Now they're looking to PR to do the same.
They want more than basic spreadsheet reporting, more than vanity metrics. Brands want transparency and performance data that gives them the power to prove they have the most optimized communications team their budget can buy.