In one of my original conversations with enterprise legend Jason Lemkin about enterprise public relations and marketing, there was one particular thing that stood out. He mentioned a common PR trope around enterprise PR (and I paraphrase) – people would constantly say “oh yeah, enterprise PR is boring, and we love boring.”
The truth is that any great tech and enterprise public relations firm that tells you your product or industry is boring immediately in a conversation likely doesn’t care that much about the conversation. I’m guessing they care about the money far more. Which I understand – I get it – it’s hard running a PR firm and it’s been a while since you could pay people in bread.
So, as a founder looking at an enterprise marketing and PR campaign, I want you to think about the following.
Does The Enterprise PR or Marketing Agency Know Enough?
It stands to reason that an enterprise PR firm would know about the enterprise, but never assume anything with PR people. They can talk in circles about things in a very pleasant, affable way, but you need to be able to establish whether they know enough to actually pitch your product. This doesn’t mean they need to exhaustively understand the substrate of your entire existence, but it does mean they need to know and understand what you’re telling them to execute an enterprise marketing or PR campaign. Ask the right questions – quiz them on previous clients, ask them if they have any opinions on particular news stories. They need to understand the data you give them, too.
What Have They Done That Matches Your Enterprise PR Goals?
This doesn’t just mean they have a good case study. You need to make sure they have good references, good media relationships and clearly understand the expectations you have. It’s totally fine to walk away from a PR and marketing effort before it starts if you don’t think that the team in question is going to execute well – it’s much harder once you’ve started.
Are You Talking To The Team You’ll Work With?
One of the greatest scams in marketing and PR is the team-based bait and switch. If you’re talking to someone that’s telling you about how an agency did X Y or Z, be prepared to ask if it was actually the person you’re talking to. Enterprise public relations is a tightrope walk between good personal relationships and understanding of a product, and that’s a very personal choice. If you’re working with someone who’s not actually touched the great successes you bought into, you’re going to find you don’t hit your enterprise marketing goals…and spend a lot of money doing so.
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