By Bekki Bushnell, Associate Director, Whiteoaks International                              

Building a successful B2B tech business isn’t easy. Just ask any CEO or board of directors. This is especially true when it comes to start-ups and smaller companies where traditional roles of sales, marketing, operations overlap and are carried out by one or two people. Not all new businesses have the budget to hire a powerful marketing team from the get-go. In our experience, when businesses like these secure funding, PR & marketing is always on the wish list. However, its sometimes seen as a nice to have instead of an absolutely must-have.

We’re of the opinion (naturally) that PR & marketing is absolutely essential for growth. It fulfils many functions; elevates brand awareness amongst target markets, investors and the media, positions against competitors, nurtures your profile as an attractive employer helping to attract the right staff, and plays a role in supporting sales with lead generation.

We are also of the opinion that employing an agency to do the heavy lifting when it comes to the PR & marketing ecosystem is a must.

Yes, there are objections, as there always will be when it comes to spending money. But here’s why you should do it:

You’re the client. That’s the most important thing to remember. So you can choose the right agency with the right team to meet your needs. Just like you’re not like your competitors, you need to find an agency that does things a little differently – whether that’s having the right expertise in and understanding of your industry, or their approach to delivering integrated campaigns.  That synergy in view points will only help develop a strong relationship.

You’re focused on building your business. Therefore, while you recognise the value that PR and marketing activities will deliver, you don’t necessarily have the time to dedicate to making it happen. Neither does the rest of your team; focused on what you hired them for.

In much the same way, your agency is there to help you. You’ll have access to a team dedicated to help you achieve your objectives. Depending on agency structure, you’ll have media and PR specialists working with you. Our approach is a little different; we have specialists across media, PR, creative, social and content, so you always have the best people deployed in the right places.

Set your boundaries (targets) and get your agency to commit to them. Whether that’s based on coverage achieved, assets delivered, or media interviews secured, work with them to figure out what your objectives should be, map those to your wider business objectives and then get them to commit to them. We think is absolutely essential and another thing we’re passionate about (you can read more about it here).

We also hear from prospects – especially those in the start-up space – that they are concerned about the retainer model. Yes, it’s great that they have that resource, but it’s often unclear what you actually get as part of that retainer. Especially when every pound is under the microscope. Again, we do things a little differently; we’ve left the retainer model behind and prefer to work on a fixed fees for fixed deliverables basis. Putting it plainly, you get what you pay for and you know exactly what that is from the beginning of the relationship. It’s also flexible, so we can easily adapt those deliverables to align to changing needs.

At the end of the day, you need an agency that’s working hard for you, delivering results and impact, and enabling you to do what you do best. Do we think we’re the right fit? Absolutely.

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