Healthcare PR – Is Bigger, Better?

By Mark Macias

If you type top-10 healthcare PR firms on Google, you will see websites that rank PR firms by revenue. Edelman PR is at the top of the list bringing in $854 million as a whole and $154 million as a healthcare PR division. But do the bigger healthcare PR firms deliver more media placements than smaller, boutique PR firms?

Unless you’re Coca-Cola or Walmart, those types of retainer fees are reserved for the multi-nationals and publicly traded companies who can afford to pay $100-thousand-plus a month for PR representation.

If you’re like most businesses, you don’t have $25 thousand dollars a month for a retainer fee. Your total yearly marketing budget is probably closer to $25 thousand for the year. Here’s the good news.

You Don’t Need to Hire a Big PR Firm

Don’t be deceived by those big numbers.

PR is not about numbers. It’s about MEDIA strategy.

A short time after I left CBS, I consulted two global PR firms under NDAs. Both were big names in the industry. This experience allowed me to see how they work from the inside. It was eye-opening how little media strategy and knowledge these PR teams have. I’m not saying that to disparage their PR expertise. I’m trying to shed light that these PR firms bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars a year are not bringing the equivalent market value to their clients.

Inside Story of how Big PR Firms Work

Throwing bodies at problems doesn’t work in corporate America, and it doesn’t work in PR. More people on a project just causes more bickering, debate (which can be good, but typically leads to a stalemate). It also ignites poor communications channels.

I saw that consulting these global PR firms. Politics set in as SVPs questioned who this former media guy was (ME) – with no PR experience – telling them what to do. They thought they had to know more about PR based on their decade long career in the industry. They didn’t realize or understand how every morning I pitched story ideas and got real-time feedback from journalists and news managers.

If you have a PR budget, don’t assume that you need more bodies to succeed on a project. You need a solid media strategist and a team to execute. If bodies thrown at a problem with your business don’t work, assume the same with your PR firm.

Macias PR was named the 2016 “Financial PR Firm of the Year – USA” and the 2015 “PR Consultant Firm of the Year – USA” by Finance Monthly. We have launched and led media campaigns for clients in healthcare, finance, tech and the nonprofit sectors. The founder of Macias PR – Mark Macias – is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. He is also a PR contributor with CNBC, providing media analysis, insight and crisis advice on timely business topics.