How Do Companies Find Agencies? CommunicationsMatch's New 2017 PR & Communications Agency Search Report. (Article & Video)

Word of Mouth Primary Resource for Finding PR & Communications Agencies - Four in 10 Looking To Engage New Agencies, Seeking New Capabilities


CommunicationsMatch's new survey of corporate communications, marketing and industry leaders reveals that 76% rely on word of mouth recommendations from their peers to find PR and other communications agencies.  The survey was conducted in partnership with  The results are detailed in the company’s 2017 PR & Communications Agency Search Report

Click here to watch a video summary of the report’s findings or the image below.

The survey also found 37% of respondents were planning to engage new agencies in 2017.  Although respondents rarely expressed dissatisfaction with existing agencies, the survey shows the primary reason for hiring new firms was a need for new capabilities. 

Where companies were looking to hire, the main focus was on digital skillsets.  When selecting communications partners, the report also found that creativity, multi-disciplinary communications capabilities, reputation and specialized expertise were priorities.

The report highlights what respondents consider to be the most important communications capabilities to business success.  More than nine out of 10 pointed to public relations, closely followed by digital marketing and social media.  Traditional marketing followed in terms of its importance cited by eight out of 10 respondents.  Digital (six out of 10) and traditional advertising (four out of 10) were lowest ranked.

The survey shows that Google and LinkedIn were used by 20% of respondents, alone or in combination with other resources as a means to find agencies.  Associations, trade media and industry meetings being used as resources to find agencies by around 10% of respondents.

“Word of mouth is the principal tool for businesses to find the agencies they are looking for and other resources play a secondary supporting role,” said Simon Erskine Locke, Founder & CEO of CommunicationsMatch.  “The downside of asking peers is this may not surface many agencies with skillsets that would be a match for a company’s needs, including smaller or diverse firms.”    

The survey found that around two-thirds of respondents didn’t believe it was easy to find agencies.  The third who specifically said it was difficult or somewhat difficult to find agencies, underscores the limitations of word of mouth as a resource.    

Ninety-one corporate communications, marketing and industry influencers responded to the survey of readers.  With the modest sample size, the survey statistics should be considered directional.

CommunicationsMatch is used by communications and business professionals to identify communications agencies and consultants with specific capabilities that match their needs.

With 5,000 agencies and experts across disciplines in more than a dozen countries, CommunicationsMatch is a resource for communications-related searches in areas including: Public Relations, Government Affairs, Content Marketing, Social Media and SEO.

Users can search by industry and communications expertise, location, size, clients, keywords and more.  CommunicationsMatch, our Insights Blog and social media channels are a source of insight and curated best practices for corporate communications and marketing professionals, as well as leadership at start-ups and SMEs.  

Read or download the full report.


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