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Should You Fire Your Agency of Record?
By: Gerard E. Mayers
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Can a PR firm or agency be fired by its client for not producing results? Apparently, YES. My colleague Doug Bedell recently published a succinct but powerful blog about the importance of following through on PR pitches. Doug wrote, “When a PR firm lands a client, it needs to serve that client well. Elementary? Well, apparently not always.”

In one of my earlier blogs about the basics of PR, I noted how important it was to network. PR firms should network not only with clients and trade media editors, but also with fellow colleagues. Networking can even be extended to include follow through on pitches for placements made to trade media editorial contacts. It is the non-glamorous part of PR, but oh-so-necessary for success.

Doug continued in his blog about following through, “In 2011, LogMyCalls hired a PR firm to promote its new call-tracking software. For months, the (unnamed) firm didn't produce any results. So LogMyCalls fired them and started its own PR campaign. Whereupon it logged four 'hard placements' a week! On its own.”

I have some thoughts here.

First, ouch! Why did the agency of record for LogMyCalls not follow through on its pitches or produce any results? Did the company even bother to perform due diligence for its client?

Second, four hard placements a week is pretty good for a company starting its own PR campaign from scratch. To me, while this might seem a negative for a contracted PR firm (and I agree with Doug here), good media contacts can help any organization, whether or not it has an agency of record. While outsourcing PR is probably a good idea for a large organization, it is not always do-able for a startup or a small firm.

Doug continued in his short blog, “But an occasional reminder that PR is a scrupulous craft, and needs to act accordingly, is appropriate. LogMyCalls provides some examples of its self-generated placements. Suppose more clients get the notion that this can be done? Not only is there no longer any utility in PR, there's no future. All because some firm, or firms, weren't scrupulous in the first place. Enough said.”

I agree and disagree with Doug. The good news is that most agencies of record do indeed do the due diligence for their clients. He does not indicate in his blog whether LogMyCalls is a start-up, a company already established but seeking to broaden its market, or a division of a much larger conglomerate. Also, not every company has the resources, time, and ability to generate its own pitches and placements.

But I do agree, in the main, with Doug’s central theme: Follow through for any PR professional or agency of record should not only be automatic but necessary. Like Doug, enough said.


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About the Author
Gerard E. "Gerry" Mayers writes about PR and other relevant topics for PR professionals. A former PR manager for Sensor Products, Inc. (currently based in Madison, NJ), he lives in Milford, NJ.
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