Outsourcing… is PR next?

When I first saw this news feature from the UK’s Sunday Herald I immediately dismissed it as rubbish.  However, maybe I was a little too hasty.

But others argue that this only applies to media relations, and that there are plenty of lower-end jobs that could grow legs. Anne Gregory, the president of the Institute of Public Relations (IPR), says: �I think some of the elements of practical PR are becoming commoditised and therefore price sensitive. I could certainly see online research going out to India. Press releases could be written there if they were the sort that just required people to put words on paper � technical press releases like product updates.�

As services such as media monitoring are outsourced, what will be next?

I personally don’t agree with this idea. PR in all its forms (this article in common with 95% of articles on PR, focuses on media relations) requires local knowledge and expertise. While some of the more mundane operational activities may be outsourced, I think anyone considering it should be very very careful.

It reminds me of the “media list” argument. Agency A will build a media list for their client at a rate of $50 per hour (using relatively inexperienced staff) while Agency B will build a media list at $90 per hour (using senior staff).

The likelihood is that Agency A’s actual list may come in cheaper, but is it as good as Agency B’s list? Probably not.

Cost is a factor in every business planning decision, but return on investment is how we are all primarily measured.

I would take a lot convincing that outsourcing is the best alternative.  I would also expect that agencies were completely transparent.  If they’re saving lots of cost and I have agreed with the process, those savings had better be passed on. I would have no hesitation is reviewing the account should they attempt to hide this practice….