Posted by David Oates 5 years, 6 months ago


I've been spending some time up in LA of late in response to what's been an increased level of interest for my agency's Pay-on-Performance model. To optimize my time, I attend a few very targeted networking groups to meet other professional service providers in the area. These settings mostly consist of bankers, lawyers, commercial insurance brokers and the like. On occasion, there are also a few of my competitors.

That scenario came about again just this past Friday. There were about 30 of us in the room. The meeting started like any other with everyone getting just a few seconds to introduce themselves. I stood up, stated my name, my company, and our model. Two intros later, a....shall we say...older PR person in a custom tailored suit and tie stood up and said "Well, I'm the antithesis of David and do strategic Public Relations counsel on retainer" as if that would shut me down.

He'll learn.

The fact is this same resistance is what we faced with I launched Stalwart Communications in San Diego six-plus years ago. I got the same flack, the same immediate backlash and the idea that "your model doesn't apply to my practice." In reality, the opposite is true. PR professionals who are not able to get their hands dirty and quantify their value will soon have a hard time generating the same level of business that they have been accustomed to getting in recent years. The business environment is no longer willing to assume all the risk, nor should they. True partners are just that; ones that aren't afraid to be held accountable for delivering on their promise to generate positive buzz and profit only when doing so. I remain firm in my convictions that the retainer model will be a relic in the future.

I just hope in the meantime that this guy tells as many folks in LA how much he thinks our Performance-based approach is wrong. If my experiences of hearing that from others in San Diego is any indication, he'll be my best lead generation source in the Southland!


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