While 37 per cent of agency heads are targeting organic growth as the primary method for expansion, the same proportion said it represented just half of their new business target.
The remainder (26 per cent) expected organic growth to account for less than half of new business, according to the survey of more than 200 PR agency heads for the first Agency Growth Barometer by Question & Retain (Q&R).
The survey quotes two anonymous directors of PR firms who believe prioritising organic growth over new clients is a better strategy. One said: "External business too often is a lottery – semi-serious clients, poor briefs, multiple consultancies pitching (with) no consistent criteria for winning."
Another stated: "Organic growth is the strongest evidence that you’re good at what you do."
Q&R co-founder Annabel Dunstan said: "Organic growth cannot be overlooked by any discerning PR consultancy head as a fast track for growth. The key is how you unlock these opportunities across the client portfolio in a timely manner.
"Too often, the moments of capitalising on the team’s hard work are lost by the day-to-day distractions of consultancy life. The more value consultancies place on organic growth and nurturing its impact on the P&L, the richer and wiser they will be."
The survey by Q&R’s Pulse Check was conducted between 30 April and 6 May this year.