In the last Bridgebuzz blog post, I reported the results of a survey we conducted of PR professionals about failure to meet PR program goals and expectations. The survey was conducted using Survey Monkey and had a total of 54 responses. Almost all of those who responded were quite experienced – the majority had more than 20 years of PR experience. In addition to the answers to the multiple choice questions, there were a surprising number of comments added in the open-ended “other/comments” fields. On one question, there were over 31 out of the 54 survey respondents added their comments. Many of the comments were quite thoughtful and worth the time to report here, which I promised in my last post that I would do.
The following unedited comments were made in response to the question, “What are the biggest factors contributing to failure?”
- Most agency/client relationships fail because the expectations of the client and agency are not in sync at the beginning of a project/program. It is critical to set and agree to those expectations prior to the start of the project.
- There’s lots of competition from similar organizations trying to get attention for the same issues, all professing to be the leader on a specific issue.
- Unclear or inconsistent client goals.
- Client wouldn’t budget for research. “You should know all that’s necessary; anyway, I know the situation.”
- Our client couldn’t give us enough valuable information to create a compelling [media] pitch.
- The client’s expectations were centered around quantity of coverage vs. quality.
- Some clients want instant results, even though we tell them that PR takes time.
- Our client contact was totally unresponsive; perhaps there would have been a way to go above the contact.
- We must make clients understand that the preparation stage takes real time up front before results can be achieved.
- True agency/client partnership means both sides take responsibility for insuring success.
- Agencies need to think critically about client problems and identify the best means of overcoming them. PR is not always the solution.
- An increasing number of media outlets are asking for payment for editorial coverage. It is becoming more and more difficult to get “earned media.”
- Problems can come from mid-management decision-makers not understanding the perspectives (or not communicating with) senior management.