Outside of the obvious sales impact that’s welcomed by any consumer tech company in the world, consumer PR campaigns can drive impact in a variety of ways. PR is also a piece of your entire marketing mix, so recognizing it’s a part of the broader plan versus the only part, is key in being able to set realistic expectations and identify success. Any consumer PR agency can talk at obnoxious lengths about KPIs, but it’s all fluff if what you are measuring doesn’t correlate with a targeted goal and real business impact. And while “sales” are the glamour muscle of KPIs, there are things like message penetration, share of voice and even organic search, that depending on your goals, industry and customer journey, might help clarify where PR efforts are impacting your bottom line.

 

But as mentioned, those are all very specific to your business, your brand, and your goals. An agency that tells you they can impact sales without asking a single question about your overall business, strategy and other marketing efforts, is giving you fluff. So, without having that conversation with you myself, I can’t begin to tell you what the 3 Indicators of a Successful PR Campaign look like. What I can highlight are some common themes we’ve seen over 15+ years in consumer PR and hundreds of client engagements. Whether you’re a startup, recently acquired or a Fortune 500, these are three ingredients with every successful plan we’ve ever had.

 

They Always Have A Proactive Focus and Plan Next Steps, Constantly

Your company evolves as you grow… and your PR plan should as well. There is a tendency for consumer tech companies to put all their efforts into a single launch day or a single moment. The successful marketing experts plan bigger, longer and prepare for growth as equally as they prepare for challenges. They keep their PR campaigns in sync with the larger picture of the company. If your PR agency is executing on the same services and strategies as they were a year ago, but in that time your company has grown, encountered new challenges and evolved… the communications plan should have as well. Successful agencies know this and always plan two steps ahead.

 

They Use Transparent and Honest Communication to Drive Improvement

There is little time for celebration and pats on the back. During times of success and especially in times of failure, the team proactively identifies what worked, what didn’t, what was learned and how those learnings will impact change moving forward. If your agency is telling you everything is perfect, and numbers are through the roof, they are lying. It never goes as planned, there is always ways to improve and if they aren’t proactively bringing it to the surface, your PR results will suffer for years. Agencies can operate in a world of gray area, but one telltale sign of a good one, is they aren’t afraid to expose shortcomings and failures when evaluating their recent campaigns. It means they are still, even after the fact, confident in the strategy and that it isn’t their first rodeo. I’d rather have a partner that knows what to do and is comfortable discussing improvement, versus one that glosses over the truth and leaves you to uncover weak performance on your own when it’s most likely too late.

 

They Approach the Everyday Basics of PR With A High Attention to Detail

Whether its executing a standard product review program or providing briefing documents for a CEO interview, your agency should approach these with the same attention to detail as elaborate PR events and product launches. If the quality of daily interaction with media or preparation for basic initiatives begins to take a back seat to a flashy strategy, sexy new product launch or big mid-year report, the core backbone of your PR efforts will begin to dwindle. As quickly as you have success, specifically with media, you can disappear. It’s a constant relationship management game and there is no finish line. Make sure your agency has the basics handled at a high-level and doesn’t jump from one shiny penny to another throughout the year.

 

If you are unsure of how you should be evaluating or leveraging a consumer PR agency and strategy, I’m happy to discuss. Send a note at bradhobbs@maxborgesagency.com with any questions you might have. Happy to provide some time to help you better understand the value of PR as it relates to your situation… I might even tell you PR is not what you need, which is best to find out before you go through the painstaking process of hiring and firing an agency.