Postings from the Edge

Global PR, new PR, social media and printing ink

Friday, 9 May 2008

The biter gets bit

You can guarantee that just when you start feeling particularly clever about something it'll turn round and bite you where you sit down. It just happened to me.

I've written a couple of posts recently about the need to change and adapt to the new conditions in PR and journalism. Of course, I was talking about everyone else's need to change. Me? I was fine with all the paradigm shifting going on.

Then a potential client with a brilliant product tripped me up. He asked me if I was willing to be paid by results. Well, I didn't quite fall off my chair. I had just started the "oh no, this is PR we can't guarantee anything, it is very hard to measure you know..." speech, when I began to feel a set of teeth in my back end. The biter was getting bit.

I've talked about payments by results and had just a touch of schadenfreude when ad agencies have been 'persuaded' by procurement departments of large companies. I've never really thought about how it might work in practice, though.

But I'm going to now. Not because I'm desperate for the work, but because the thought of payment by results appeals to me in this case. It fits the client and the industry and it fits the times.

I've already started scribbling and come up with a few models, but if you've got any more ideas I'd love to hear them...

1 comment:

pbrill said...

Yeah, it's a really scary concept because you have to have total faith not just in your own abilities, but also in the fickle fate of the media to want your message.

I've encountered a couple of recent situations where potential clients have said - oh, yeah, we've had PR before it was a total waste of money. Prove yourself and we'll spend money on you? Often these are people who don't understand how comms works have completely unrealistic expectations.

You need to be very careful on the measurement and the targets set. SMART targets are absolutely vital and I would suggest this model works best with trade-based or social-media based PR where your efforts can be easily seen and tracked including the outcomes.

I've not yet used a total payment by results model, but I think it's only a matter of time.