PR and marketing communications play a huge role for every business, and its importance has only grown in the disruption of the last two years. That’s why, in Q4 last year, IBA felt it timely to conduct a global survey into PR & Marketing agency support. We found out that only 11% of marketers are happy with their overall effectiveness of PR agencies activities.

Fast forward and it seems that over a year, not much has changed.

According to a recent report by Setup, 30% of brand marketers are likely to change their current agency in the next six months. This statistic shows there are still opportunities for agencies to gain business from organizations unhappy with the level of support they’re receiving even now.

Moreover, the research also shows that marketers are planning to increase their spend on content marketing by 59.6% – the highest priority area listed by brand marketers. IBA understands the need for high quality content creation to underpin PR and marketing campaigns – so it’s no surprise that organizations need help to create compelling content to drive their campaign plans

Interestingly, the Setup report highlighted a worrying disconnect between brand marketers and the levels of transparency and communication available from their agency partners.  One third of marketers seek greater transparency and communication between Agency and Brand. This is something of critical importance in terms of agency accountability and was also highlighted in IBA’s primary research 12 months ago. Unlike some of its industry peers, IBA has long been an advocate for transparent PR reporting and clear metrics, so it’s no surprise to see this is still a hot topic issue for brand marketers right now.

Read on for a recap of the IBA primary research looking at the key demands B2B marketing managers are looking at right now – or download the full report here.

  • Primary research from IBA International finds only 11% of B2B organizations are satisfied with their existing PR and marketing communications agencies
  • 40% of marketing managers admit they find it difficult to measure agency contribution to the overall business
  • Key issues are: Disconnect between regional offices, high staff churn, project false starts, and focus on hourly spend and contact engagement rather than measurable results

November 19, 2020 – IBA International, a leading B2B marketing communications consultancy, today announced the findings of a primary research report which examines the confidence of B2B organizations in their marketing and communications agency structures at a time when the majority plan to change their product and geographical road maps post-COVID-19 and Brexit.

The study, conducted by Cint, the market research technology company that operates the world’s largest sample exchange, analyzed responses from over 1,000 B2B marketers with an average spend of between 5k and $20k a month covering the UK, U.S., Australia and New Zealand. It found that only 11% of marketing managers are happy with the overall effectiveness of their public relations agency and clearly demonstrates a number of problems with the services they are receiving.

Of those surveyed, 40% of marketing managers admit they find it difficult to measure the contribution of their PR and Marketing agency to the overall business, with 30% suggesting that the cost outstrips the return and 21% agreeing that they tend to go with well-known agencies that are too expensive and not a good fit for their business. Common complaints were receiving support from only junior staff (23%), false starts on projects (20%) and high agency staff churn (19%).

When highlighting barriers to international expansion, 38% of marketing managers cited a lack of affordable agencies that would work in a number of countries. The most common criticisms were too many chargeable hours from separate regional teams eating up campaign budgets (33%), disconnects between agency offices in different regions (28%), and some 24% feeling undervalued as a smaller account.

“The pressures of COVID-19 and Brexit have thrown into focus the inadequacies of the traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ agency model. It’s broken,” said Judith Ingleton-Beer, CEO, IBA International. “At a time when marketers are having to produce relevant and quality coverage on limited budgets, communications agencies need to exploit the digital technologies that are helping so many businesses survive the disruption of the pandemic and the uncertainly around Brexit trade deals.

“IBA has pioneered a low-cost single hub model that dramatically reduced the time and cost for clients to successfully produce high levels of quality ‘earned’ coverage and establish their brand leadership in new industry markets and across new geographies. It’s a proven model that increases client control and at the same time saves them money.”

Data for the study was collected through Cint, the market research technology company that operates the world’s largest sample exchange. The study spanned over 1,000 B2B organizations in various major industries across the UK, U.S., Australia and New Zealand between August and September 2020.

A full copy of the report can be downloaded here:

About us
IBA International is the long-established strategic market communications consultancy division of Special Interest Publications Limited which was originally founded in 1966 as a pioneering publisher of leading technology and management publications. IBA’s experienced writing and engagement team offers clients a complete strategic consultancy for all aspects of international public relations. Working from a unique central delivery hub its own global database of 180,000 media and influencers, IBA has developed a unique capability to conduct highly effective communications campaigns at a fraction of the cost of traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ PR organizations. IBA clients range from leading communications and network organizations, global enterprise software vendors to advanced fintech and agritech organizations.

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