If you watched the TV show Mad Men, you'll remember many scenes where Don, Peggy, and other characters from Sterling Cooper work late into the night crafting the perfect strategy, tagline, commercial, and more. You may have noticed that Peggy usually created strategies and messaging alongside a visual creative like an illustrator — the show was set in the 1950s and 1960s. Usually, drinking and drama were thrown into the mix. While Mad Men creates a glamorized perception of the day-to-day life of advertisers and marketers, it gets one thing right. Good quality marketing takes careful thought, more people than you think, and a lot of time.
Why are we starting this with Mad Men? We wanted a fun way to begin a conversation around a common question that leads to an awkward conversation: How much will this cost me?
Over the years, we've met with many small business owners that want to take their marketing to the next level. Usually, they (or a family member) do the marketing themselves or hire a volume-based marketing company that offers marketing for under $1K for a significant project or per month. Usually, the result is marketing that is not effective because the creative is poorly designed and no thought was given to strategy or storytelling.
If you have a proposal for under $1K/month from a marketing agency, designer, or freelancer, they most likely use a high-volume business model. They need a lot of clients and an efficient process to be profitable. Therefore, they probably do not put much time and effort into their clients.
As a result, we've seen work that reflects poorly on businesses and nonprofits and even also fails to meet the bare minimum of marketing best practices:
Postcards with the wrong address.
Websites with countless links that go to 401 (error) pages.
Logos with white around them against a colored background.
Random, sporadic social media posts.
Sometimes, these businesses take your money and do not deliver the promised work.
Decent marketers and designers are usually highly-conscientious perfectionists who want to produce work that captures people's hearts and minds while helping businesses grow. Good marketing takes time, money, and typically additional people like graphic designers, web developers, and other creatives. A decent marketer:
Has strong critical-thinking skills and thinks deeply about whether the strategy and creative are aligned with your brand and appeal to your target audience. Marketing is much more than advertising. They also consider your product/service, price, promotion, place, people, process, and physical evidence. A few examples include how they can make your website look and function better, whether or not you should offer a discount and what type, how the latest trends can apply to your business, and analyzing data to see what's working and isn't.
Has extreme attention to detail. Is that sentence the best message? Is that paragraph and picture evenly spaced? Is there something that may be accidentally offensive in that eblast? Are there typos? Are the prices correct? Do links to the website work?
You can click here for our comprehensive campaign creative piece process and proofing checklist for more details about what marketers think while planning and executing a marketing campaign or project.
A volume-based marketing agency or freelancer that has tons of clients can't possibly do all of this well.
Your financial investment will cost more if you want a good marketing strategy and design. To give you a point of reference, an experienced and effective full-time Director of Marketing is usually worth $70K+. A CMO is worth at least $100K, usually much more. This does not include health insurance, paid time off, and other benefits.
NEW Consulting is not a volume-based business. We want to produce high-quality work that increases awareness of your business or mission and leads to more revenue and growth. We want to give you time and energy and help increase your business' revenue.
With all this said, we believe that all businesses and nonprofits should have access to good marketing and try to work with different budgets. But, we are not a volume-based marketing firm and can't possibly come close to offering services at volume-based prices.
We are still happy to talk with you, even if you're only thinking about working with a marketing firm but not ready to make the financial commitment quite yet. But if you're looking for marketing services at a low-cost, we may not be the best fit for you. We are still happy to talk with you, but we may not be a good fit if you hope to pay under $1K per month for marketing.