Ten Questions that Prospects and Clients Ask

Questions Marks

Brianne Miller, Senior Counselor at LCIBy Brianne Miller, Senior Counselor

When the team at LCI starts talking with prospects about their marketing and communications needs, invariably several important questions arise. We decided to compile a list of those that are most-asked and answer them below:

What is the ROI? How do you measure the effectiveness of a program?
We have pioneered metrics-based ROI with our proprietary program called PRomised Results©. At the beginning of any engagement or campaign, we sit down with the client and define success. We measure effectiveness against those definitions using hard metrics. Whether your goals are sales, web visits, engagement, message pull-through or anything else that can be measured – we’ve got you covered.

How do you measure the effectiveness of social/digital media?
In addition to the software-based analytics tools we have access to, LCI measures results such as message pull-through, engagement and sales. It’s great to have someone click on a link – but even better when their actions beyond that help clients meet their business goals.

How much does PR cost?
PR is a time = money formula. Agencies bill on a suggested retainer. That retainer is based on the number of hours estimated to complete a project or service a client month to month. Once parameters of engagement (including scope of work and deliverables) are discussed, LCI estimates an estimated retainer fee. Make sure when you are vetting PR agencies that you have a well-defined scope of work and a verified budget; otherwise, it makes it difficult for agencies to provide an accurate estimate of specific costs.

A group of coworkers fist-bump during a meetingHow much staff/client time does it take to manage a PR agency?
Generally, LCI keeps to 10% of staff time for management. 90% of our time is in service to our clients. Clients should make sure to allocate at least an hour each week to help direct the agency and 1-2 additional hours per week for implementation, based on scope of work.

How do you get your brand in top tier national media?
Media wants one thing. A good story. Do you have something to say? Is it part of a trend or does it constitute news? What is different, first or innovative about your company? Top tier media especially wants to hear from reputable parties about new/cutting edge/one-of-a-kind stories. Public relations professionals have the experience to tell when a story should be pitched to what media – and if not, we can help you create news.

Is social media, video production and digital marketing/advertising something you offer? Do you also offer crisis communications and community relations?
Of course! Social media, video and digital work hand-in-hand with other integrated communications services such as content creation, surveys, PR, etc. LCI also specializes in media training, crisis communications (we’ve helped keep a number of Fortune 100 companies out of the news) and community relations. At LCI, we assess what the client needs to reach its articulated business goals; then put together a tailored program. An integrated communications campaign, where digital marketing and social media are supported by public relations efforts, always yields better results. Having many “tools in our toolbox” allows us the flexibility to create outreach programs that work together to produce those exponential results.

What will you be doing for us on a daily basis?
LCI staffers work diligently for clients every day. We never want a client to wonder, “What is LCI doing for me today?” We use project management software and campaign trackers to keep everyone up to date regarding deliverables. Weekly meetings are also a must, even if it’s just 10 minutes on the phone. At any moment, clients can consult a tracker or just pick up the phone to catch up on weekly activities.

How will I be billed?
LCI bills monthly. Public relations services are billed at different rates than social media, digital marketing or crisis communications. We can help you ascertain what is the best mix for your company.

A stack of newspapersHow can I guarantee placement in the media?
Paid media is the only guarantee of placement. What that means is that you buy an ad or advertorial. Public relations is more of an art than a science. We recommend that clients work with people who have secured the results that you desire. Those are the PR professionals that know how to do it and know how to advise a client on the ways to make it work.

Can you get my CEO a speaking opportunity?
Sure, provided your CEO is a thought leader in the field and has something interesting to say. LCI helps first research the right places for your CEO to speak. Then, we develop speaking abstracts that we pitch for trade shows and conferences. While there’s no guarantee, a professional abstract will always attract more attention than one put together unprofessionally. You want to find agencies that have pitched and placed speaking opportunities for many different clients, like LCI. Not only do we have the experience, we have the contacts.

How do we win awards?
Do amazing work and show it off to the best of your ability! LCI again researches the best awards that will help attract the customers you want. LCI can write and submit award entries just like a news media pitch – with a story. Let us help tell yours.

How can I convince my management to invest in PR?
Talk about ROI. If you’re not getting reports that track back to your business goals, it’s hard to make the case for the spend. But an ROI that shows an increase in sales? That works.

How do I know what size PR agency I need?
Agencies mostly work on a retainer basis – with monthly minimums directly related to the size of the firm. A big multinational agency will have a larger monthly minimum than a mid-sized firm (like LCI) or a boutique firm or freelancer. Those agencies will offer different kinds of services as well. It’s always best to start with a solid understanding of what your budget is. If you make a few phone calls, you can determine what size agency fits your budget and what services are available for the retainer.

Do you have any other questions for us? Leave a comment below, email me [email protected] or tweet us @LandisComm.

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4 Comments

  1. David Cumpston Reply

    Great list, Brianne. I’d also add: Who’s going to be on my team? Prospects typically want to meet those they may be working with on a regular basis.

  2. Sean Dowdall Reply

    Hi Brianne,
    My favorite question a prospect asks is – when can we get started?
    Sean

  3. Ashley Boarman Reply

    These are all great, Brianne. Another question clients ask or like to hear up front is, “How fast can an agency get going and up to speed?” LCI can hit the ground running, but it’s nice for clients to have realistic expectations about the work involved to launch an immediate campaign and understand a client’s business.

  4. David Landis Reply

    Brianne – terrific post. It’s always important to discuss what a prospect’s goals are – and cover their scope of work as well as their budget. Many thanks. Cheers, David