23rd September 2014, Question & Retain (Q&R), a leading Consultancy specialising in data-driven insights, has highlighted an interesting split in opinion occurring across the UK’s PR industry in relation to new business pitches.

Following the results of its one question Pulse Check™ asking 500 + UK-based PR agency MDs and CEOs for their views on how the competitive playing field is changing in the PR industry, 60% of those pulse checked equivocally point to the rise of new agencies in the ‘room’. Digital and content management agencies as well as marketing and advertising agencies are hailed as the ‘new’ competition and reactions are mixed.

“Social media agencies are mushrooming,” said one respondent adding, “They seem to think that if (you) ‘promote’ using Twitter or Facebook, then they can also undertake traditional PR.”

However, 40% claimed there was no change at all with one MD commenting, “We are still seeing PR agencies in our pitches for PR,” while also observing that “digital content pitches are different….there are marketing and advertising agencies as well as digital and content management agencies (in the room).”

Annabel Dunstan, Co-Founder, Q&R added, “These results show a firm step change in the way clients are selecting their communication partners and the impact new media is having on the new business pitch process. The question for any discerning agency has to be – are you able to handle a move away from traditional media campaigns and punch higher than your weight in a new and evolving marketing communications sector?”

The overwhelming message is clear though, the reality of this was shared by one CEO who said, “We’ve lost budget to e-marketing, telesales and social media and purchasing in the last three months.”

And in the words of another respondent, “Often the most difficult thing to answer these days is “who’s your competitor?'”

The Pulse Check™ ran from September 11th – 17th 2014.


Q. Are you pitching against non-traditional PR agencies more and more when pitching for new business?

  • 15% Yes, at our last pitch we were up against marketing and ad agencies
  • 30% Yes, at our last pitch we were up against digital and marketing agencies
  • 15% Yes, at every pitch we see a different type of agency in the room
  • 40% No change at all, we see the same faces in every new business pitch