Earlier this week a headline in Inc. magazine piqued our interest: it read “8 Reasons Not to Hire a PR Firm”. We were intrigued by author Jeff Haden’s premise and the fact that the article stemmed from an interview with Finn Partners CEO Richard Funess, so we thought we’d go through his points one by one from the other side of the equation.

Here are the reasons the article gave for startups and small business owners to “save [their] money” and avoid paying for public relations representation.

Haden and Funess believe that you, as a potential client, shouldn’t hire an agency “in specific and in general” if:

You don’t have a clear idea how you will measure results

Fair point. We recently heard someone within the industry tell us that a lack of metrics is a major reason that business owners often see advertising as a more concrete investment than PR. And we completely agree that businesses should have clear ideas about their goals before even considering PR. Still, holding firms to absolute numbers or asking them to promise certain results is probably not a great idea.

You want a particular agency simply because it had success with a competitor

Funess asks, “If they did such a great job with the competitor, why aren’t they with them anymore?” Yet, as Jennifer Leggio of Forbes points out, this issue is more complex than the article implies. Anyone who followed the Lucky Strike plotline on Mad Men knows that sometimes brands simply drop firms or ad agencies because management decides that it’s time for a refresh in spite of past successes—and an agency that has worked in your industry would come to the table with a surfeit of valuable knowledge.

You feel simpatico with another agency…but this one is 25% cheaper

We completely agree here.

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