How would the PR companies survive?There have been reports that PR companies solicit new clients in the MICE sector by saying that they can slash promotion budgets. With free editorial coverage, they point out, there is no need for clients to spend money on advertising.
Surely that paves the road to oblivion.
If advertising declines and the media go out of business, then the promotion options disappear.
Meetings facilities, airlines and destinations are denied contact with potential new clients around the globe – and the inevitable result would be for PR companies to disappear.
Imagine the MICE world without the media – no press, no magazines, no news websites. But then, imagine a MICE world without PR companies. MICE editors would have to scratch around and dig deep to unearth morsels of news for themselves!
The MICE sector is a self-contained ecology. We are all inter-dependent. Remove one of the active players and everyone’s survival is threatened.
Some people seem to think that the media can go on providing free editorial ad infinitum and don’t require income. There was a recent instance when a hotel owner asked a journal if it could invite its readers to visit his hotel on a Fam Trip. The publisher put forward a plan, which of course included a fee.
The hotel owner was shocked. ‘Why should I pay when I am providing free rooms and food for your readers?’
‘The whole exercise’, the publisher replied, ‘is aimed at getting group business for the hotel. What benefit does the publication get for its time and trouble?’
On another occasion a PR company invited a publisher to lunch expressly to interview a client, s the Director of a Convention Bureau. Just prior to the lunch the publisher was warned against mentioning advertising to the client. ‘It is a non-commercial’ occasion’, was how it was phrased.
The publisher felt offended. ‘I’ve been in the business long enough to know the protocol on these occasions’, he said. The lunch went ahead, the Director was interviewed and the article duly appeared.
Then the publisher discovered that whilst he had invested his time and money for no payment, the PR company invoiced the client specifically for the article, Was that really a ‘non-commercial occasion’?
Business only works well if all parties to a deal gain some benefit. There is no long-term future in getting one party to work repeatedly for no return. PR does one job, advertising does another. Both are essential.