Social Media PR Agencies Ranked by Marketers in New Survey

Recently, ZDNet’s Jennifer Leggio conducted a survey whose “main purpose was to determine which PR firms are best attuned to social media and are developing the most beneficial social programs for their clients.”

Almost 550 respondents weighed in.  Primarily these were “PR decision-makers at companies with 1,000 or more employees,” mostly from sectors such as enterprise technology, consumer, and Web 2.0.

I’ll admit that a warm glow of delight came over me when I saw SHIFT’s #1 ranking amongst firms most-often referenced by these marketers as an agency that understands the Social Media landscape:


Interestingly, Jennifer also asked these decision-makers which agency they’d consider switching to, if they were to leave their current firm.  This is no small factor, as apparently “40 percent of respondents claimed that they are considering switching agencies.”  We did pretty well here, too:


(Note to those disgruntled marketeers: contact me.)

OK, though I truly do appreciate these marketers’ kindness, that’s enough braggadocio.  Jennifer’s survey raised many other fascinating points, all of which I keenly appreciated. 

Of the write-ups I’ve seen to-date about the ZDNet survey, it seemed most PR folks were glad to see that their clients still felt very strongly about the need for “traditional PR.”  (As if this meant they might still have some time to ward off the scary Social Media monster?)

But the most important, in my mind, was this one (from page 3 of the survey):

“Rather than offering a ‘traditional’ package and an ‘enhanced’ (Social Media) package, consider making it all one program.”

At SHIFT, we focus on engagement wherever it will benefit the client.  Sometimes that’s eWeek.  Sometimes it’s Perez Hilton.  Or TechCrunch.  Or the NY Times.  And in almost every case, the same PR pro who calls TechCrunch is also calling the NY Times, etc.  There’s no false differentiation between “blogs” and “mainstream media.” 

This is about people talking to people, offering relevant content, in a respectful way.  Why overcomplicate it with “specialization” or so-called “enhancements?”  — To charge more money?  That’s short-term thinking that won’t benefit the clients.

There’s still a whole lot more to learn about what happens at the intersection of PR and Social Media.  The road ahead is long.  Kudos to Jennifer Leggio for providing this essential mile marker.

Posted on: March 3, 2009 at 9:07 am By Todd Defren
12 Responses to “Social Media PR Agencies Ranked by Marketers in New Survey”


  • Like a weblog author personally, My partner and i value the time you absorbed wriitng that short article. I am currently reading the idea upon our Rim associated with check it once My partner and i house.

  • I agree that it is exciting to see how creative brands ad professionals are getting with the new wave of mediums that have taken over

  • Hi Todd,

    Great post on the first survey and thanks again for letting me guest post! For everyone who works at a PR agency and who is invested in the future of this industry, please take a few minutes and fill out part II:

    My and Jennifer’s goal is to get 1,000 completed surveys. We’re at 260 and counting. We need your help. Thanks!

  • George Snell says:

    Traditional PR is dead. Traditional PR’s focus is media relations – designing programs to get “clips.” If you’re still creating programs for that kind of practice then you’re going to the old school. PR agencies should be focusing on helping clients speak directly to customers – and engaging with the community around them (partners, employees, analysts, prospects, etc.). And, yes, that includes the media – new and old.

    It’s about helping clients go beyond the media and create their own compelling content. Now I know SHIFT believes in that because it is ahead of other agencies in announcing a content practice.

    So when I write about traditional media being dead:

    I’m talking about the old methodologies and approaches to it. And surely we can agree that that is dead.

  • TDefren says:

    Thanks, all. Much appreciated.

  • It continues to get increasingly exciting to watch where PR is heading in light of social media’s influence. Keep up the good work Todd.

  • Makes me proud to be a former SHIFTer. Congrats to the entire SHIFT team for a job well done and credit well deserved.

  • Lewis Green says:

    Congratulations Todd. And keep the fire going in that warm glow you’re feeling.

  • Kyle Austin says:

    Thanks for the pingback Todd. I agree with you. When people say traditional PR is dead, I get a little worried because I don’t think it’s dead, it’s just evolving (very quickly). Those on account teams who are handling day-to-day media relations need to be able to adapt to building relationships and engaging with Perez one day and Walt Mossberg the next.

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