In a recent post I talked about an “aha moment” I had. It’s one that has impacted how I think about my own business. When I started my business about two years ago, I was hoping to work with clients to help them develop strategic marketing communication plans to move their businesses forward. I’m a *HUGE* proponent of planning and think that effective planning can avoid unnecessary effort and expense–and increase results.
But, not everyone believes this. I found that, just as when I was in the “corporate world,” people don’t really like to plan. They like to “do.” I thought that as an “independent consultant” I could have more influence on this.But, no. Not unless I want to just say “no” to every prospective client in a tight economy. And, obstinate as I can be (just ask my husband!), I’m not going to do that.
So…I developed services and pricing to better meet the needs of the people I was talking to–my prospective clients. I developed various pricing options so they could choose what they felt made the most sense for them. And, when we’d talk about the options and they’d ask which I thought was “the best,” I’d honestly say: “I don’t know. It really just depends on what you’re most interested in.”
That’s certainly true–to a degree. But I also have an obligation to offer some advice based on what I know about marketing and communication. And, what I know is that you can’t really compartmentalize marketing communication results. What is a “retweet” worth? What is a PR placement in USA Today worth? Or in the Engraver’s Journal?
It depends, of course. If you’re an engraver, a placement in Engraver’s Journal might be worth more than a placement in USA Today–it depends on your audience and goals (as always). But it also depends on the RESULTS you’re able to achieve. And the results of a placement in either could be negligible, or could be life-changing. Ultimately, what clients really care about are their bottom-line results–not whether they got on the Oprah Show (remember it’s not getting on the Oprah Show that matters–it’s what getting on the Oprah show DOES for them in terms of generating awareness, preference – and SALES! – that matters).
So, I’m framing a new opinion that I will start to share with both existing and prospective clients. While I’ll still, of course, defer to their wishes, I’m coming to believe that when it comes to paying for PR-placement services, “pay for placement” is really not the best option–for them, or for me.I want to have the ability to influence bottom-line results, not just discrete (and maybe even inconsequential) activities.