How is it that a guy of my age and experience continues to be surprised by how many – and how often – otherwise intelligent and well-meaning marketing executives act thunderstruck by the cost of doing business in the 21st century?
And to be perfectly honest, I really don't know if they are truly incredulous or are simply acting surprised as a preemptive move to negotiate costs.
Imagine being willing to pay $8,000 (that's at a 12x discount rate) every month to run a full-page, color ad, but balking at the idea of paying a one-time charge of $3,000 (including copy and layout concepts, photography and print-ready art) to produce it. Really?
Imagine willingly shelling out nearly $100,000 to exhibit at a key annual trade show, but hesitating to invest $5,000 to support this investment with target marketing strategies designed to increase booth traffic, engage visitors and secure additional media coverage. Really?
Imagine wanting to see your product featured on multiple national TV talk shows (e.g., Today) and in national consumer magazines (e.g., Dwell) during the prime 2011 spring cleaning season for a budget in the neighborhood of $2,500. Really?
Imagine asking your agency to dramatically increase traffic to your website and improve sales conversions in the process through a strategically managed PPC program, but hesitating when you learn that the cost of managing the campaign is almost $500/month. Really?
I mean I get professional marketers wanting to squeeze as much value out of their budgets as possible. In fact, we even encourage them to set tangible, measurable objectives so we can determine if the results of the strategies we propose and implement justify the financial investments they make. That's good business.
But what are executives thinking when they expect professional services to be cheap... or worse, free? I suspect the problem lies deep within the boardrooms and executive suites where poor decisions are made about how much money should be dedicated to marketing the organization and its products/services.
My son recently reminded me – while we were discussing the merits of various cable/Internet/telephone service providers – that you get what you pay for when you shop for the lowest price instead of the best service. If you don't mind slow Internet speed and spotty cable, then take advantage of the low bundled price. If you want fast Internet speed and dependable cable, then pay the asking price. If you don't want to pay for anything, just ignore your current bill and see how that works out for you.
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