What I do not love is when people (visionaries, the underdog, creative types) launch companies without a thought given to marketing. I find this so confusing and heart breaking because there are millions of resources available (blog, books, business coaches), and yet, companies launch, money is spent, time invested – but not dime nor dollar for marketing.
I do not always advocate PR only approaches – some companies need straight up sales marketing. I get that. But doesn’t everyone want to have an eye on their public, even if they decide to sink their life savings into a direct mail piece? The reality is that at some point, 99.9% of businesses have to put some money where their mouth is and pay for decent marketing.
“If you build it they will come” is a movie line, not a marketing strategy.
How Much Does Public Relations Cost?
Too many entrepreneurs want short cuts, freebies, and miracles. I am amazed by the number of business people I have met who truly believed they did not need to spend one dollar on marketing or PR because the product/idea/service was so great, it would simply sell itself. I have met business owners who spent half a million on a whim acquiring space, renovating it, stocking product and setting up shop without budgeting anything for marketing, advertising or promotion.
I have seen the same businesses flounder or worse, fail. “Why, why, why,” I cry to the heavens, “did that person not budget for marketing?” Did they not have a real business plan? Are they arrogant? Or did they simply think promoting their business through real communication with their customers was free?
Well, to tell the truth, I still have no idea why this happens, but I can say that if you want to succeed, you will need to shell out a few clams. I am not saying you have to hire me, but you need to hire someone or do it yourself. Need some help, but are not sure of the numbers? I have done the easy math for you. And brace yourself, they all have commas.
Straight from Salary.com, here’s what it will cost you to hire a Public Relations Director as a full-time employee (this does not include office space, supplies, taxes or benefits): $84,000 to $185,000, with the national average being over six figures.
Now, let’s just say you live in a tiny town; you might get away with hiring a PR person for $40,000 in salary alone. At the very lowest range, that is about $19 per hour. So why do some people expect to pay $400 for a full “campaign” (yeah, I am talking to you Elance lovers)?
I understand shopping on price – but you have to pay something – and you won’t like this, but when it comes to PR, you get what you pay for.
But never fear, here’s my unscientific formula that any business can use to figure out how much engaging a proper agency/consultant will cost (full-time employees are different, generally less – so please feel free to stimulate the economy by hiring a PR pro.)
Jules’ Rules for Budgeting PR Agencies & Consultants:
- Set aside 10% of your annual sales for engaging a PR firm.
- Add the salary of your lowest paid employee and your highest paid employee, divide the sum in half, and use that amount to budget for a consultant.
- Find the median cost of your attorney, accountant, and one other professional services provider (architect, engineer, graphic designer) and use that as a pay basis when you start talking to professionals.
- For a consulting fee, find the rate of a similar (size, scope, situation) full-time employee and double the hourly rate.
Note: If you do not have any employees, an attorney or an accountant, take the amount that you want to pay, double it, multiply it by three, then add 20%, while saying a Hail Mary.
If you find any of this unsettling, call me. I won’t charge you. And we can talk about that part in the movie where he does build it and they do come. It won’t help your marketing, but it might make us both feel better.