Every year or two, creative service firms begin thinking about their pricing for going forward, and specifically whether to raise it and how to go about it. Here are a few thoughts for you to consider.
Three Places to Start
First, don’t think of your hourly rate as a pricing tool, because it’s really more of a positioning tool. It is just one of many inputs that feed how prospects/clients view your services, but it is a substantive one. How much you charge per hour is directly related to the perceived value of your services. In fact, the only time you should talk about your hourly rate is when you want to make a positioning statement or in answer to a direct question asked by a prospect/client. Otherwise don’t talk about it.Read More
Marketing consistently is the most important thing you can do for your firm. Marketing is not primarily about the quantity, but rather the quality of business you have. In fact, marketing often doesn’t happen because principals don’t understand that well. They are busy and think that marketing will just make it worse (i.e., busier). But marketing is about becoming less busy and making more money. It’s about options.
Over the years we’ve gathered a list of the reasons why marketing should always be happening. Here are a few:Read More
Growing pains (defined as increasing the net employee count) seem to have common themes in the small marketing firms we work with. The average firm grows at 30% a year. Real, internal growth (vs. growth through merger or acquisition) is more manageable at something less than that average, since as humans we cannot seem to adapt that quickly. (This average growth statistic may explain the unusually high failures in the same industry.)Read More
Your clients care more about how the work is managed and delivered than the work itself.
Many of you are going to disagree with that statement, and I’m fine with that, but I wanted to put it in a separate paragraph just to be very clear about what I’ve noticed when listening to hundreds of your clients over the years. Yes, I can’t count how many times they’ve told me that they place great value on an agency that “gets it” in their ability to listen, push the envelope appropriately, and consistently hit home runs out of the park. But the work itself just needs to be good enough (that is not a negative in spite of the way it sounds), while the management and delivery of that work needs to be remarkable.Read More
David C. Baker was named a "mentor" for the Entrepreneur Center. EC Mentors come from all backgrounds and types, however they all love helping innovative and driven entrepreneurs turn their ideas into reality. The EC Mentoring Program helps individuals apply their lifetime of business experience to helping startups launch successfully.
Read More The Center certifies all mentors through our training program and teaches the best practices for fostering innovation.
The Center certifies all mentors through our training program and teaches the best practices for fostering innovation.
In an article Fast Company by Lisa Nirell, she featured my article with many bullet points that describe a customer-driven company (you should be customer-focused, not customer driven). The article had 250,000 page views.Read More
This article, published by Smart Customers-Stupid Companies, highlights the advantages of customer control when you focus narrowly. It also provides sample websites that illustrate excellent positioning. Written by Bruce Kasanoff.Read More
Most of my work (through ReCourses) is with independent, small- to mid-sized firms in the marketing space. But I get asked to consult with in-house departments, such as Verizon, Hallmark, PriceWaterHouse, Whole Foods, Hartford Life, Toyota, Compassion Intl, etc. Probably 40 in all over the years.
In some cases, I've been asked to "audit" the output of the in-house department to justify its existence on financial grounds. In other words, some C-level executive is questioning whether or not they should even have an in-house department.
Here's something I think you'll find interesting: in every case that I've done such an exercise, having an in-house department has proven to be more expensive than using outside firms.Read More
Valuable Content, Ltd., of Bristol, England awarded us their monthly "Valuable Content Award", which put us in very esteemed company, like David Meerman Scott, Ian Brodie, and Charles Green (of Trusted Advisors fame).
This article, for Communication Arts, highlights the differences between average and high performance firms. It doesn’t take an enormous amount of work to be an average firm, but it takes more dedication…and knowledge…to transform your firm into a high performance one. This article suggests some specific metrics for being a high performance firm, starting with the priorities a principal should follow.Read More