Pay peanuts, get monkeys!

I’ve been doing a lot of competitor analysis and market research over the festive period to try and gauge any shifts or trends in what the potential client is looking for from a professional service provider and what the industry is actually offering in return. What I have found quite frankly scares me.

I am seeing more and more organisations shouting louder about lower prices while, you, and me as customers, turn the volume off on the TV ads, ignore the adverts in the magazines and get driven mad by endless cold canvassing and hundreds of “blast” email marketing campaigns.

For example, I came across a number of marketing, website and graphic design “specialists” making ridiculously low financial offers across social media platforms in an attempt to drum up business. i.e I saw a “graphic designer with 10 years experience” offer logo design, stationery, some marketing collateral with “unlimited” amends for £200?!

From experience, this type of project can take anything between 2 and 5 days to deliver so £200 would imply a serious loss-leading campaign or worse still, a desperate scream for business. Not only that, making direct financial offers at ridiculous prices can convey a negative impact on the brand of the organisation making the offer and actually the industry in general.

There’s no easy way to say this, but, if you do not put a value on what you are offering, nor will the people you are targeting or working with. As the subject heading says, if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

This way of marketing your products or services is an initiative a lot of industries seem to employ and in markets like retail, the price point can make a large difference to sales. However, it is my opinion that the best route to market is to try and sell the benefits as a package rather than putting all eggs in the financial basket. For example, I rarely see direct financial offers from professional services companies such as Solicitors or Accountants.

I’m not saying that every organisation should charge a premium, but it should have something special about it; a USP which can be marketed. Sometimes that USP are the people delivering the service. Sometimes it can be the product or service itself, but I feel the best route should be to market the “package” on offer.

What you should be evaluating when marketing your company and what it does is the reasons people buy from your business when they can just as easily buy from the competition? i.e.what makes your company different from the rest?

If the money things keeps raring its head, maybe ask a potential client or prospect what sort of value he or she would put on what you are offering. For example, what would it be worth to have a stress free house purchase or how much would you value would you place on having a strong brand, website and ongoing marketing.

Choose your price point carefully and stick to it. If you need to make a direct financial offer to your prospect market, make it realistic and limit the time it’s on offer. Around this, build your brand. research, develop and communicate your USP. Finally, allocate a budget to do this professionally as well as discuss timescales.

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