As AM:PM PR approaches its second birthday, we’re changing how we sell our services. We’ve packaged services for clients – creating a prix fixe menu of options rather than the usual ala carte list.
We think bundling PR services and pricing them clearly will make it easier for clients to understand what they’re buying. It also recognizes how different the practice of public relations has become in the 24/7, constantly connected world we live in today.
Historically agencies based their pricing on billable hourly rates, much like lawyers and other professionals. Clients that have little experience using public relations agencies struggle to understand why services are billed hourly. Those with more experience may understand billable hours, but many don’t connect hours billed with results achieved.
The truth is that not every hour we work produces the same benefit for clients.
Over the Holidays, I read a book (The Marketing Agency Blueprint) and shared it with my colleagues. It triggered our effort to rethink how we price what we do so it makes more sense to our clients – and to us.
“The traditional billable-hour system is tied exclusively to outputs, not outcomes, and assumes that all agency activities … are of equal value,” declared Paul Roetzer, the book’s author and founder/CEO of PR 20/20 in Cleveland.
Today’s communications landscape has radically changed the contents of our PR toolkit. It requires us to be full-time listeners, even for our smallest clients. In the digital world, opportunities and risks don’t wait patiently for open times in our schedules.
Our ability to help a client requires a high level of trust in us, as communicators and strategists. Trust takes time to build. Our service packages anticipate that we will work with the client for a minimum of six months. It’s a step away from casual dating. It signals our priority is on building long-term, mutually beneficial relationships.
We’re eager to talk about these packages with prospective clients, and learn from them whether this new format helps them better understand what they will get in working with us. Like everything in our business, the packages are subject to change. Our hope is that they will form the foundation for some great relationships.