How much is a house?

House And will you honor that price, no matter what?

I can hear you now…how many bedrooms?  Ranch or two-story?  Brick or siding?  Finished basement?

What if I wanted a price without answering any of those questions, because I didn’t know the answers yet?

Welcome to working at a marketing agency.

One of the most frustrating aspects of how prospective clients select their agency partner is the question "how much will it cost?"

Now don’t get me wrong. Clients have a right to know how much something will cost.  But often times the question is asked before the details are known.   It really disrespects the process AND the product.

This is one of the reasons why RFPs are such a bad way to choose a partner. They almost always are a price war game.  In which the client is the biggest loser.  Because they very rarely end up buying what they put on their shopping list.  And yet, that was what they based their decision on.

Sure…some agencies deliver cookie cutter products.  Swap out a few words, a logo and voila, a brochure is born.  They can publish a price sheet (which I have seen) and live by it.

But any agency worth their salt delivers a custom product/service every time.   Working with an agency is about collaboration.  We need to get inside your head.  Inside your employees’ heads.  And inside your customers’ heads.  We want to tug and push against ideas with you.  We want to explore, dissect, twist and turn.

Then, we’ll know enough to recommend that your house be a 3 bedroom ranch with a walk out.  And tell you how much it will cost to build and maintain.

Mark True just wrote a great post with the added bonus of some excellent links that extend the conversation.  He asks the question — are you ready to hire an agency or to engage with one?   A subtle difference, but a very important one.

You hire a cab.  They deliver a commodity.  Don’t reduce your agency to that.

Engage with your agency.  Let them engage with you.  Then let the building begin!

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