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The majority of agency CEOs (64%) are preoccupied by their sales pipelines

The latest PR and Comms Growth Tracker that pulses agency CEOs, MDs and board directors, asked them to declare their biggest preoccupation right now - and new business pitching tops the list.

The majority of agency CEOs (64%) are preoccupied by their sales pipelines. Whilst this is an often uncontrollable element of running a successful business in the PR and comms industry, many express energy, enthusiasm and confidence about the current trajectory.

Which one of these, if any, are you most preoccupied with currently?

One CEO from the travel sector says - "In our sector (travel) the mood is buoyant. There’s business to be had and we’re out to get it.” Another CEO is in their element - "The standard seasonal trend of a glut of opportunities that require invoicing before March 31st and budget requests for work planned for April and beyond are in full force at the moment!"

Talent issues

Although only 16% of our CEOs say that recruitment was top of mind - there was clear recognition that finding the right talent is a perennial challenge. This from one agency chair - "The PR agency business is growing and changing. We need more and different kinds of people to join our ranks, and we have to know where to find them,” which was echoed by an international agency CEO who observes - "Whilst the mismatch of the labour markets have eased a bit, finding the right talent will always remain the key success factor for any professional services firm.”

Smaller firms

Smaller agencies have their eyes down on their brand and service offering - "We're early stage start up therefore new business along with analysing that new business and shaping our customer offering is everything right now.” In the words of another CEO, some agencies are constantly looking at ways to improve what they do - "Improving the quality of our services. We don't think we have fallen behind, but we need to always make sure we're ahead of competitors and so we want to make sure that quality is our top priority, ahead of the other urgent things that probably took precedence during the pandemic.”

Stay positive!

And of course, amidst all this fervour, is the slightly bizarre and fragile economic environment we find ourselves in. The last word sits with this CEO whose exasperation with potential doomsday scenarios is evident and arguably justified. "Ah, it's the Millennial Bug all over again. Let's talk ourselves down and into a recession, when already inflation is on the move downwards, the housing market hasn't crashed and interest rates are moving too. Yet clients are cutting budgets and moving from retainer to projects, as they nervously wait for the BBC to predict when the recession will actually start.”

Methodology

The PR and Comms Agency Growth Tracker pulses around 300 PR and comms agency CEOs based in the UK and internationally, and around 400 in-house senior comms leaders, March 2023

Written by Imogen Osborne, founder of The Pulse Business

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