Potential customers that do not unveil PR budget
David Landis, CEO and owner of our American PR partner agency Landis Communications Inc. (LCI) in San Francisco maintains a clear approach to potential new customers:
“I don’t submit a proposal if the requester is not ready to tell me what budget he is willing to pay. And he must be able to pay our minimum budget. So both sides do not waste time.”
We find this clear positioning very exciting and ponder on acting likewise in the future. Because de facto, it often happens that a company is not willing to reveal its PR budget. This applies in particular to smaller and PR-inexperienced companies. David Landis: “We make a lot of effort to create a realistic plan of action and cost, and in the end they say, ‘Oh, we were thinking, that costs much less.’ Or you even do not hear from them anymore. We find it ineffective for both sides.”
PR budget needs to be clarified
To be honest, it sounds somewhat unreliable when a company claims it does not know what the budget is for Public Relations activities. What is the purpose of a business plan if the marketing costs are not clearly defined? Then the company should first book a professional business consultant, who helps to set up a realistic marketing budget plan.
Landis Communications has developed a catalog of questions in order to get to know the potential customers better. In the first step, Landis is asking questions like this:
- What makes you different from competitors?
- Why do you want to do PR now?
- Have you ever worked with a PR agency?
- How do you finance yourself?
- How does your business model work?
In the end, the question arises about the budget for the public relations work. “When they say they do not know it is probably because that person doesn’t have the authority to make financial decisions. Realistically, every company has budget limits somewhere,” reports David Landis from his experience.
PR prices: Large differences between multinational, owner-managed agencies and freelancers
Landis then goes on to explain to the prospects which budgets large and small PR companies as well as freelancers usually take in the San Francisco/Silicon Valley region. Landis also explains what the difference in performance between the three providers is. For example, the large international PR firms maintain offices and an expensive headquarters, while freelancers can only serve the region around San Francisco. Landis itself has an office in San Francisco, but networks with other agencies in the USA and worldwide through the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN), without generating its own costs.
Landis can offer a medium budget. If the potential customer still does not want to call numbers, Landis asks directly, “What don’t you want to spend: 20,000, 50,000, 100,000 USD?” If still no number is named, Landis refuses further cooperation. “They either have too little budget, or just want to pick up ideas without paying for them,” says David Landis.
But this has also already happened: The prospect provided Landis with a budget, after which the agency has developed a plan. In the end, however, it was said that the budget for Public Relations had not yet been approved internally. Therefore, Landis now also asks in advance whether the budget is already approved within the company.
Serious PR planning requires budget disclosure in advance
Isn’t Landis right? We are now wondering if we should respond similarly. The number of online queries has risen sharply after our website re-launch and intensified SEO efforts. We are now in the situation to separate the chaff better from the wheat so as not to waste too much time with non-serious inquiries.
An exception may be start-ups or companies that still have little experience with PR. But if they are ready to give at least a ballpark figure, we will be glad to provide them with a standardized action plan (but not a fully developed concept, which costs money).
It is very noticeable that often companies, which are not from the USA or the big European countries, underestimate the PR expenditure in Germany because of the very wide media landscape. If you have only a 10,000 € budget available, you cannot expect a full service PR activity plan over 12 months.
We do not want to scare anyone, but our decades of experience show that only business relationships at eye level pay off for both sides.
About Landis Communications Inc. (LCI)
LCI is an award-winning, full-service marketing communications, public relations, digital and social media agency that offers a unique mix of expertise in corporate, consumer, technology, B2B and nonprofit public relations, marketing communications, digital/social media, content marketing, community relations and crisis communications. With a team of 20, LCI provides strategic, creative and results-driven public relations, marketing, social media and digital strategies to clients in a variety of industries. LCI is the San Francisco member agency of the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN), with 50 agency affiliates worldwide.
Web site Landis Communications Inc. (LCI): https://landispr.com/