It is very common to see marketing and public relations agencies that believe they do not need to market themselves. They almost forget they are a business. In my post grad program we had a chance to build an astute business plan for a public relations agency from Toronto.
The name of the agency is veiled to keep it private, but the recommendations are worth it to share.
The overall theme of the recommendations being made for the agency can be summed up in two words: driving growth. The below recommendations aim to aid the agency growth from an entrepreneurial start-up to a titan of the communications industry.
The agency is in a strong position financially. An analysis of how the firm allocates its revenue, however, demonstrates that some improvements can be made to bring it closer in line to the average Canadian public relations agency.
This comparison shows that they spent seven per cent more of their revenue on staffing than average. Their profits were also two per cent lower than the Canadian average. As such, the following recommendations can be made:
- Assess the use of freelance work over the last four years and determine the areas in which the agency spent the most.
- One of these areas can be selected, and a full-time contract employee should be hired to fulfill this need
- Two per cent of their revenue should be allocated to the marketing and communications plan that is outlined below
- Profit will remain at 18 per cent for the first year, after which additional freelance work can be assessed and minimized to increase profit
The branding recommendations for the agency centre around ensuring that the agency is viewed as a powerhouse in the communications field and that it is communicating a clear message to its clients.
- Create a five-year business plan and vision of where and how the company wishes to grow
- Focus on being an expert in one area of the communications industry—be the best, not the biggest
Marketing and Communications
The marketing and communications recommendations aim to build the agency’s client base beyond personal networks, in order to maximize revenue for the agency. Currently, the agency does not have any organized marketing or communications efforts. As a public relations agency, being able to effectively communicate their message to current and potential clients is essential. The marketing and communications plan, which will account for two per cent of the agency’s revenue allocation, can be divided into three key areas:
- Content creation in the form of an online portfolio of campaigns completed for clients and a blog describing various aspects of agency’s day-to-day operations and clients
- A website redesign to be more interactive and visually appealing, and to better communicate the agency’s message to potential clients
- An organized, planned social media effort focused on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn