Procurement’s Impact on PR Services is Good and Bad, Survey Says
Marketing and communications professionals at government entities, corporations, and nonprofits find themselves working with procurement departments in choosing their professional agency relationships, which may or may not be a good practice, according to a recent survey by the Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) Counselors Academy and PR News.
While fewer than one-third of those interviewed say they have negotiated a public relations contract in which their organization’s procurement department played a role, those that did noted that operational and financial efficiency is often cited as the rationale. Moreover, nearly 87 percent were satisfied with the results.
Despite the positive outcomes, however, many noted similar stumbling blocks, including the length of the procurement process.
Still, nearly 55 percent of respondents felt the procurement process helped to prove public relations’ value to senior management.
PR agency principals are more leery of the process. Once again, only one-third of the PR agencies surveyed had participated in the procurement process (many PR agencies reported that they simply could not be bothered). Of those that did, nearly 67 percent reported winning the business.
Overall, many agency principals saw benefits to the process. For example, nearly 75 percent felt that it had a positive effect on agency efficiency, while 60 percent indicated that it led to a stronger relationship with the client. Additionally, more than half found it had a positive impact on their ability to be more competitive in future new business pitches.
The most notable concerns were the amount of time required to complete the procurement process, and a lack of understanding of what was being purchased.
“Despite its drawbacks, procurement is a new business reality for public relations agencies and other professional service firms,” says Deborah Radman, APR, Fellow PRSA, Chairman of PRSA’s Counselors Academy.
In an effort to help organizations navigate the waters of public relations professional service procurement, PRSA’s Counselor’s Academy has published a helpful guide titled “How to Select a Public Relations Firm or Consultant,” which can be downloaded free of charge from its Web site at www.govinfo.bz/4590-282.
Find detailed survey results at www.govinfo.bz/4590-283.