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Tactics Are Important, But You Gotta Allow Some Upfront Brain Time to Think About Strategy

So yesterday I get an email from a prospective client that I had been in touch with about one year ago.

While I was excited to learn about the prospects of pitching new business, my instinct told me that this client-to-be might not turn out to be such a great candidate client after all.

The original email basically said, "here is what we are looking for…" with a long laundry list of executables.  Nowhere in the email did it say anything about help with messaging, positioning or strategy. 

Just execution.

Transitioning to a New Agency Should Include Some Strategic Thinking and a Fresh Point of View

Even if all we were going to do was the execution (which, by the way, we are very good at) once we come on board with a new client, there has to be some upfront thinking, examining of what the previous agency did, its successes and failures, and learning what the expectations would be and seeing if they are realistic.

A few more emails went back and forth and the client to be responded in kind with saying that they were already working with an industry analyst research firm to sort out strategy and messaging and they just did not have the bandwidth to start over on this type of initiative.

Engage your PR firm To Work In Concert With Industry Analyst Research Firms

In many of our engagements, we work in concert with industry analysts to help guide us through the messaging and positioning process.  We also bring a breath of fresh air and perspective not from the vantage point of the end user, but other types of media.

What? No Community Building Initiative?

This client to be is in a very vertical and niche market- an ideal candidate to consider blogging, social media and community building.  But the client seemed dead set on traditional PR…you know…bang out the releases, get us the interviews, get X amount of contributed stories, etc.  Yes, all these tactics are important and are pretty routine. 

Also, the client to be had been acquiring other companies and it was quite apparent on their web site that they had basically hobbled together a collection of messages with no apparent overall message about the brand’s new value.

Hire Your Agency to Be Your Story Teller…Not Just To Schlep Your Press Releases

The media and industry analysts are overloaded with news. 

Another product, another customer win, another partnership isn’t news.

It’s just noise. 

While you still  have to have these types of announcements to validate that you are real, your agency should be focused on developing and telling your story. 

That’s the real value of investing in an agency. 

My advise to the client to be:  if all you want are tactics, save your money on an agency and hire interns instead.

photo by Alan Weinkrantz – shot on location in LA (c) 2007

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