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Putting a Price on Marketing Advice

Are you shopping for price instead of results?

At least a couple of times a month we receive a particular type of inquiry through our website. While the words always differ slightly, the gist is still the same – “we are looking for help/advice/guidance, etc., - how much do you charge for marketing?”

Our usual response is — that's a hard question to answer without finding out a little more about your situation, would you like to have a quick conversation?

“No, thank you we just need a price at this point.”

So, we give them an hourly rate or a per diem and take a wild ass stab at what they may be looking for or need and, we never hear from them again. Almost always these inquiries come from someone, usually a junior, who has been tasked, often by someone further up the food chain with finding someone to help with something.

This may sound like we're complaining but we're not. It all adds up to a few minutes of our time which in the grand scheme of things is no skin off our collective noses. But here's the thing, it's not about wasting our time, it's about wasting their time.

Exactly what are you looking for?

Before you start casting a wide net for marketing advice or any kind of help, it would help if you knew what you were looking for in the first place. In other words, if you're having a problem, what is the problem? Not enough revenue? Increased competition in the marketplace? Is the market unaware of your company, products or services?

Maybe it isn't a problem you're having. Maybe you're in the midst of a merger. Perhaps you have a product or service launch coming up. Maybe your website traffic is tanking. You could be dedicating precious resources to social media and have no sense of the return you are getting.

Knowing what your problem, challenge or situation is will help you decide what kind of marketing advice, brand consulting or design expertise you might need. That should help narrow down your initial search for firms or people and allow you to explain what your situation is when you reach out to them.

What kind of help do you need?

Quite often, we hear from people who think they already know the exact solution to their problem. In that case, which we are always somewhat suspicious of, all they think they need is capable hands. That could be the case. Other times, they think they need a knowledgeable advisor to help them figure things out. Still, others want a combination deal. So, in addition to being able to explain your situation be prepared to describe the kind of contribution you want the firm or marketing consultant to make. Do you need thinkers, doers or a magical combination of the two?

Instead of starting your search for marketing advice based solely on price, start with at least two important pieces of information to share:

  1. We have a challenge/opportunity with (fill in the blank)

  2. We're looking for a firm/person that can (fill in the blank)

Here's another thing that you should be prepared to do -- answer a few questions from the people you approach. Yes, that means actually talking to someone but it will be time well spent. In a business like ours, chemistry counts big time.

Are we suggesting that you should never consider price? Absolutely not.

What we are saying is this — if you only start with a price when it comes to marketing advice, odds are you'll end up frustrated.

Speaking of being frustrated - are you frustrated with your current marketing results? We can help and your first step is simply to contact us!

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Unabashed words guy, branding evangelist and voracious reader of anything to do with marketing, branding, creativity and design.