Cha-ching: Is this the sound of what your content marketing agency does for you or what you pay your agency? If you’re considering renegotiating the price you pay your agency, take a moment to think about what they are charging you for and where you should never cut corners.
Negotiating Better Agency Prices
Agencies determine price not just by the end deliverable — a blog, infographic, social media strategy, etc. — but also by the work structure inherent to that client. Is there an efficient planning process in place? How many reviewers in your organization must give their blessing? Is the agency apprised of the goals and targets before embarking on the project, or are they given a moving target?
As an agency, if I have a predictable view of the timetable and energy required, I can better pin a price on that project. Put it this way: When you have a really good plan in place, work can be streamlined and it will cost less to produce.
If it’s been a while since you negotiated the price of certain services, perhaps it’s time to review those costs, especially if you’ve been able to iron out the original kinks. It’s reasonable to approach an agency and ask if those efficiencies can save you some money. In the least, they should have some ideas on how to get to the negotiating table. (Beware: This is when you might hear about that chronically tardy reviewer or indecisive editorial planner on your end.)
In your effort to find cost savings, there are certain corners you should never cut:
It’s tempting to look at a scope of work and see areas you’d rather not pay for. One area clients try to find breathing room is in strategy and development costs. Resist the urge to cut these. By spending two to three weeks, even a month, getting the strategy in place, the agency will be best prepared to meet goals and hit targets. “Just start” isn’t a plan for success; it’s a way to draw out the process, guarantee rewrites, create missed opportunities, and ultimately get less ROI. A well thought-out strategy can help you determine where you can cut costs without losing results. Maybe you only need two blog posts a week or one social channel instead of four.
Don’t assume that all talent pools are created equal, and pricing variation between agencies can reflect that. With writing, you get what you pay for. There’s also a difference between paying for talent and paying for an agency name. Know what you’re paying for so you can compare similar packages.
Sometimes people put the art budget on the chopping block, preferring stock art or even no art in favor of editorial. Successful clients are willing to put something behind the visual presentation, whether it’s an infographic, relevant photography, or original charts and graphs. Historically, we’ve found original art to outperform stock imagery time and time again. What is gained is exponentially more valuable than the monetary outlay.
By making your agency part of the analytics feedback loop, the team will stay on top of the process, better understand the results, and be able to pivot as conditions change. This can ultimately translate into time-saving (read: money-saving) efficiencies. If they’re left out, you’re taking a powerful weapon out of the agency’s arsenal.
Need help figuring out how to get the most content marketing bang for your buck? Contact us, and we can discuss your needs.