While Public Relations and Marketing are two separate functions, they share many of the same considerations when selecting an agency for your company. After discussing these considerations we will consider what is unique to each function.

Base the decision on value

Make a decision about your agency based on the value it can deliver, not on price alone. A good agency will match the best mix of activities against your budget to maximize the results.

Is the prospective agency interested in your company?

A strong indicator that your prospective agency will do a good job is if they ask lots of questions. Never trust a firm that delivers your entire strategy based on a quick call to you. How can they hope to understand the business goals and your individual pressures without spending some time with you and getting to know your organization?

Do they understand your objectives?

Ensure that clear goals are set out from the start and that any agency is prepared to measure the same. If your agent is to achieve meaningful results, it needs to understand what your business is trying to achieve from the very start of the relationship.

Is there chemistry?

Good results come with effective teamwork. See your agency as an extension to your marketing effort and don’t approach this as a buyer-seller relationship. The chemistry has to be right and if you are in any doubt, don’t hire them. You need someone with whom you can bond and who understands the demands made on you.

Take time to select the right agency for you

This is an important decision for the business – both in terms of the impact PR and marketing can have, and the level of time and budget required from the business.

Selection of these agencies is an important investment and should not be rushed. Take time to select and see agencies relevant to your business and ask for client references. Meet agencies for ‘credential meetings’ (the chemistry test) and invite those you like to respond to your brief. Make your final decision based on their pitch and your experience of the interaction you’ve had with them through the process.

Messages should be consistent and compelling across all your communication channels, including your website, sales collateral, press material and direct mail.

Why does your business need PR/Marketing?

Will these functions help you prosper? They must be accountable – make sure you get a return on your investment by ensuring that your objectives map on to your business plan.

Where does PR/Marketing fit into your overall marketing effort?

Understand exactly where these functions fit within your marketing effort. Share your business and marketing objectives with your prospective agency so that it can interconnect with other marketing activities to deliver maximum value.

Adapted from an article by Chris Hewitt, CEO of Berkeley PR which employs 30 people in the UK’s Thames Valley, Derbyshire and Bristol.

How do PR and the functions of a Marketing Agency differ?

Public Relations is defined as Using the news or business press to carry positive stories about your company or your products; cultivating a good relationship with local press representatives Public relations is the opposite of advertising. In advertising, you pay to have your message placed in a newspaper, TV or radio spot. In public relations, the article that features your company is not paid for. The reporter, whether broadcast or print, writes about or films your company as a result of information he or she received and researched.

Publicity is more effective than advertising, for several reasons. First, publicity is far more cost effective than advertising. Even if it is not free, your only expenses are generally phone calls and mailings to the media. Second, publicity has greater longevity than advertising. An article about your business will be remembered far longer than an advertisement. Most importantly, publicity has greater credibility with the public than does advertising. Readers feel that if an objective third party – a magazine, newspaper or radio reporter – is featuring your company, you must be doing something worthwhile.

A marketing agency is defined as an organization that, on behalf of clients, drafts and produces advertisements, places advertisements in the media, and plans advertising campaigns. Such agencies may also perform other marketing functions, including market research and consulting. Instead of focusing on merely advertising, a truly effective agency focuses on marketing and knows that advertising is but one form of marketing.


Full service agencies strive to integrate all aspects of a client’s marketing operations so that clients get a better overall return for their marketing dollar. Traditionally, agencies are compensated by the commission received from the media in which they placed advertisements.

Any creative, planning, or buying services would be covered by that commission, which means that these services are effectively free to the advertiser. Marketing services are unique to each case, but there are some essential principles common to most advertising campaigns.

The primary objectives of advertising are:

  • Increasing the sales of the product/service
  • Creating and maintaining a brand identity or brand image. Communicating a change in the existing product line.
  • Introduction of a new product or service.
  • Increasing the buzz- value of the brand or the company.
  • The media available for advertising include:
  • On-line Advertising – Email, In-text Ads, Mobile Device Ads, Search Engine Ads & optimization, etc.
  • Print Advertising – Newspapers, Magazines, Brochures, Fliers.
  • Outdoor Advertising – Billboards, Kiosks
  • Event Advertising – Tradeshows and Events
  • Broadcast advertising – Television, Radio and the Internet Covert Advertising – Product Placement
  • Public Service Advertising – Advertising for Social Causes Celebrity Advertising

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Selecting a PR/Marketing Agency