Cold calling and on-spec creds top pitch tactics

The best way for PR agencies to infiltrate a pitch longlist is to make speculative and proactive approaches, while 70 per cent of pitches are kept secret until after completion, according to The Survey Shop’s ‘PR 2004’ report.

The survey of 204 senior in-house PROs involved in selecting agencies found that longlists most commonly included agencies that had sent credentials ‘on spec’ (48 per cent), made phone calls (40 per cent) or sent letters (35 per cent).

Despite this, just under half of PROs said there was little to distinguish between credentials documents.

One in four longlists – which average 6.3 agencies – sourced candidates through the IPR, despite it being an individual membership body. The institute fared better than the PRCA (13 per cent), while only 15 per cent used independent advisers or intermediaries.

The selection panel is bigger in the public than the private sector. In the latter, marketing directors most often choose agencies (63 per cent).

Although procurement managers play an increasing role in agency selection, they appear to play no actual part in selecting shortlists in the private sector. They contribute to the decision 31 per cent of the time in the public sector.

Encouragingly for agencies, the survey suggests clients do not hanker after cut-price deals: a third of PROs said agency rates were not a factor in drawing up a shortlist.

But of those who cited price, almost half considered agencies proposing a range of fees while a third said they preferred mid-range rates.

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