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The Three Mighty Words – “What’s Your Budget?”
As 2018 comes to an end, it’s likely you have evaluated your company’s successes, efforts and overall direction as you gear up to take on the new year. Maybe this year brought growth and a higher demand for your services than ever before, or maybe it was the opposite. Whatever the scenario, you may have concluded that it is time to hire a public relations and marketing agency to take your business to new heights in 2019.
Like any healthy relationship, honesty is key. When looking into prospective agencies, it’s important for both parties to answer every question truthfully to get the most accurate overview of what working together will look like, which includes cost and budget.
Now that we are being honest, what is your initial response when asked arguably the most important question of an agency interview, “Do you have a budget in mind?”
Do you lower the number assuming they will always go over budget? Do you lay your number out service by service? Do you increase? Or, do you tell them the true figure?
Below are reasons why it’s important to stop playing mind games and start providing your honest budget.
1. Out of reach, out of mind. If you don’t provide your agency with a budget, but ask for an estimate on a website design, a redesigned branding package and a new product-launch marketing campaign, you may be overwhelmed when receiving the quote that you can’t afford.
It’s like shopping for a car. You have a set price to spend but also have a list of things you couldn’t live without, like heated seats and all-wheel drive. If you don’t disclose your honest price range, you could be shown a car way above your limit and find yourself too frustrated to continue looking.
If you are truthful from the start, you can work together with the dealership to check almost everything off your list while staying on budget. In this case, opting for front-only heated seats instead of all four. The right agency works hard to get you what you want with what you have.
2. Your time is important. The more accurate you are with the budget, the more accurate your estimate will be. If the agency knows exactly what it’s working with, you will spend less time later asking to take out services, rearranging priorities or getting worked up trying to reach your ideal estimate.
3. You guessed it. The agency’s time is important too. Being forthcoming with your budget will help keep the agency on track while working carefully to measure who would work on what, what services are needed and how many hours each task will take. If their time is spent more intentionally during the planning stage, it will reflect in their time spent on your work.
4. Before you sign the contract on this relationship, do your research. Look into the agency’s reviews, credentials, awards, employees, portfolios, community initiatives and anything else you value in a partnership. As mentioned before, honesty is going to be key. Enter the relationship knowing you have asked and answered all the questions that will move you forward as a team.
If hiring an agency is on your mind for the new year, feel confident knowing an honest budget will give you more of what you want in return.