In a down market like the one that we have been experiencing for the last year and a half, it’s easy to understand why businesses are watching every penny. I do it when I go shopping – why wouldn’t a marketing manager or CEO?
But lately I have been surprised by the number of business people I have come across that do not understand the cost (or, more importantly, VALUE) associated with interactive marketing and making digital efforts congruent with other marketing activities.
Grace Smith does a great job providing a basic explanation regarding the process behind quality strategy development and interactive marketing execution in her blog post, “Why Web Design Doesn’t Cost £40.”
There are certainly opportunities to scale pricing, design, technology and even the skill-level of people doing work to cater to clients’ budgets and there are certainly resources that can provide “a” solution for whatever budget a client determines.
But for me the biggest hurdle to any quality project is client education. Having to opt out of negotiations because the client and the agency are not on the same page regarding project scope or objectives is the absolute worst. Having a project end sour because of poor communication regarding expectations and deliverables sucks. Every decision-maker cannot take the time out of their full-time responsibilities to learn all there is to know about the web. Not everyone is willing to trust an agency to guide strategy. It’s my goal on my projects to make the process a little less painless and to develop trust with my potential clients.
A few things I have been working on to ease the pain of these scenarios include:
- Upfront communication about process, deliverables, timeline and budget
- Set measurable objectives at onset of the project to evaluate success of initiatives
- Document, document, document everything
- Keep up to date on latest solutions
- Really understand my clients’ businesses, challenges and motivations