IBA Primary Research highlights a deep lack of confidence from B2B organizations in their PR and marketing agencies as they plot recovery, new opportunities, and expansion post-Brexit and COVID-19.

In our first eye-opening market research report, which you can download here, IBA reported that despite the gloomy outlook often reported in the press, a surprising majority (86%) of B2B businesses across our research geographies have already altered their product offerings in response to external factors – while nearly half of all respondents (46%) stated they were looking at expansion into new territories.

Now, in a follow-on report we examined the disconnect between PR and marketing agencies and their clients and explore what PR and marketing communications agencies must do to meet these new marketing demands post-Brexit and COVID-19.

ROI fails to measure up and a lack of ideas slows expansion

The research found that just 11% of marketing managers are happy with their current PR and marketing agencies. A comment received from one manager was that “[our] current agencies lack new ideas and overall strategies”,  and close to half (40%) of all marketing managers surveyed stated they found it hard to measure their marketing agencies contribution to their overall business – and this dissatisfaction is only the tip of the iceberg!

The research sample focused on marketing managers that spend between $5k and $40k a month on agency fees and found the majority spend between $10k and $20k per month. If we dig deeper, we find that over half of all respondents believe current public relations agency fees are too high – while 30% believe that overall cost outstrips all return.

This gels with another statistic: 21% of marketing managers feel pushed by senior management towards well-known agencies that don’t fit with the individual organization’s goals.

A deeper dive shows that the traditional agency model just isn’t fit for purpose

Our first research report identified a real drive among B2B organizations to expand internationally, yet our second report found there are a number of barriers to achieving this goal. Some 38% of respondents identified high agency fees as an issue, while 28% of marketing managers felt a disconnect between agency offices in different regions contributed to budget waste and limited campaign development in new industries and geographies.

Attitude an issue

The attitude of account managers and staffing of PR Agencies was a further criticism – almost a quarter (23%) of respondents felt their marketing budget was wasted due to junior agency staff members being put on their account, closely followed by 19% who identified high agency staff churn as an issue. Again agency attitudes came in for criticism with 24% of all respondents feeling that they were undervalued by their respective agency as a smaller account, and a further 20% felt budget and marketing efforts had been wasted due to project false start that wound up dead-ending.

A new model is needed

The research clearly highlights the need for a new approach to international PR and Marketing as organizations re-shaped product portfolios, new market challenges, and reduced budgets.

A single-hub solution, such as the one pioneered by IBA International, that for a lower fee than hiring a traditional agency can offer targeted marketing and PR tailored to several geographies and/or industries, has to be the way forward for businesses looking to protect their market recovery post-Brexit and COVID.

Interested? You can download the second report here.

The results of the report are based on data collected on behalf of IBA by Cint, the market research technology company that operates the world’s largest sample exchange, who contacted over 1,000 B2B marketing managers across a wide number of industries in the U.S., UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Simon Woolley is Senior Market Analyst at IBA International

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