Do they realise quite how ridiculous that criticism sounds to those companies that employ agencies? Why on earth should the PR industry feel it should be excluded from one of the fundamentals of any trading relationship?
It's true that clients and prospective clients sometimes design shoddy measurement criteria that don't take account of the variables, but don't blame the companies involved. They do so largely because they have been let down in a previous experience. In the years I spent client-side, I got tired of listening to elaborate pitches that promised much but failed to deliver and so I started to insist on a return on my investment - hardly an unreasonable demand.
'To be effective, payment by results requires a degree of sophistication,' says PRCA director general, Francis Ingham. Well yes, that's clear, but instead of complaining about clients insisting upon it, the industry might do itself more favours by embracing the model and adding the sophistication required. Those agencies that design the right campaigns, and staff accounts with the right people, have nothing to fear from payment by results.
Ian Hood, founding director, Babel PR