IBA Report Reveals PR & Marketing Agencies Are Falling Short Of Today’s Market Needs

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Only 11 per cent of marketing managers are happy with their public relations agency, staggering findings from a new IBA International report show.

IBA International, a leading B2B marketing communications consultancy, has announced the findings of a primary research report, which examines the confidence of B2B organisations in their marketing and communications agency structures.

It comes at a time when the majority of B2B organisations plan to change their product and geographical road maps post-COVID-19 and post-Brexit.

The study, conducted by Cint, the market research technology company that operates the world’s largest sample exchange, analysed responses from more than 1,000 B2B marketers with an average spend of between $5,000 and $20,000 per month covering the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand.

It found that only 11 per cent of marketing managers are happy with the overall effectiveness of their public relations agency, clearly demonstrating several problems with the services they are receiving.

Of those surveyed, 40 per cent of marketing managers admit they find it difficult to measure the contribution of their PR and marketing agency to the overall business, with 30 per cent suggesting that the cost outstrips the return.

A further 21 per cent of respondents agree that they tend to go with well-known agencies that are too expensive and not a good fit for their business.

Common complaints IBA received from respondents were: receiving support from only junior staff (23 per cent), false starts on projects (20 per cent), and high agency staff churn (19 per cent).

When highlighting barriers to international expansion, 38 per cent of marketing managers cited a lack of affordable agencies that would work in several countries.

The most common criticisms were too many chargeable hours from separate regional teams eating up campaign budgets (33 per cent), disconnects between agency offices in different regions (28 per cent), and some 24 per cent feeling undervalued as a smaller account.

“Traditional PR and marketing agencies are reliant on the same circulation of media contacts, with an outdated hierarchical management structure and busily charging by the hour and not by the success,” IBA’s executive summary of the paper says.

“Clearly a new model is required if B2B organizations are going to take advantage of their new opportunities post-COVID and post-Brexit.

“This report identifies the pressing requirements for a new breed of marketing support services,” it says. “A highly budgetable, agile and scalable service that is in touch with the new marketing landscape and able to support businesses wanting to expand their PR & Marketing campaigns into new industries and new geographies in a post-COVID and Brexit world.”

IBA International chief executive Judith Ingleton-Beer added: “The pressures of COVID-19 and Brexit have thrown into focus the inadequacies of the traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ agency model. It’s broken.”

“At a time when marketers are having to produce relevant and quality coverage on limited budgets, communications agencies need to exploit the digital technologies that are helping so many businesses survive the disruption of the pandemic and the uncertainly around Brexit trade deals.”

A full copy of the report can be downloaded here.

Featured image source: iStock/scyther5

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