Mercedes of three steaks
Blog - Mar 21, 2019
Whatever we plan to buy, we ask how much it costs. And that’s normal.
But we also always know what budget we have at disposal. And we always get informed on what we can afford.
Except when it comes to services…
On countless occasions in these 15 years that I have been in communications I’ve heard the question, “And why does this cost so much?” Work, and I cannot begin to explain how much it annoys me. However, my personal favorites are comments of those know-it-alls such as, “Why would I give you so much money when I can train my PA Milka for that Facebook and all?”.Been there?
I will now try to explain, in a serious fashion (and don’t mind a joke here and there), what a communications services fee actually includes from a professional aspect. You’ll get the answer to the question why PA Milka cannot deal with Google advertising and analytics, why the production of high-quality content requires a team of people, why SEO cannot be executed by a neighbor’s kid, he is so smart and he studied in the USA, so if he didn’t learn it there, what did he learn at all?
Why, after all, you should invest in a serious integrated communications agency, what it means to have a team that understands inbound marketing. Or why should you pay a real in-house public relations expert?Here we go…
1. You study communications. For years. A good job can be done only by professionals who have five, ten or even more years of dedicated study in this field, gaining experience, forming a team who will manage your project/reputation/brand.
2. There are shades and there are differences. You may come and ask for an event management proposal. It looks pretty simple, right? All you’re interested in is a general proposal and an approximate cost. It is not simple. Firstly, the event may be a working lunch with a CEO for 20 people, but it also may be a business forum for 1000 people. We may engage a local music band, or make fireworks, create a light show, bring a local theatre company. Only imagination is a limit. And a budget, if we may add.
3. Some projects require a larger and more experienced team. You’re planning organizational restructuring, office relocation, or, God forbid, downsizing. For such project, you will need a five-member team at a minimum, including highly seasoned people with different competencies – a crisis communicator, who has preferably had similar experiences, a person specialized in internal communications, who will cooperate with the company’s HR team in restructuring, a media person, who is well connected with editors and who can help you create concepts of your materials for them, a digital expert, who will control developments on Twitter, Facebook (and you know what happens if you throw a snowball down a mountain called social media), and an experienced manager to handle all that.
4. Unfortunately, communications are what everyone can do, but only a few know how to do it. Virtually everyone thinks they can, know, piece of cake… forgetting how much studying it takes, how much time digital specialists dedicate to online courses, reading, trends and monitoring, how difficult it is to keep pace with Google, which changes its algorithm almost constantly… Yes, of course, you can find a university student to manage your Facebook account for 50, 100 euros a month. What else do youth do but hang on those phones all day long, so why shouldn’t they post something for you? Then you’ve forgotten that there are entire schools, academies, institutes for research in specialized areas, such as content, for instance. And good content is what will make your Facebook page different, rather than a person who adds a post. I guarantee you that the student who will charge 50 euros for posting from their phone definitely does not spend eight to ten hours a day dealing exclusively with content strategies that will make a brand more visible and relevant on the Internet.
5. Experience and good references make a difference. What do you prefer – entrusting PA Milka or a serious professional/team that works with the companies such as Coca Cola, Philip Morris, Turkish Wizz Air, GAP, etc.? What, I can’t hear you? Perhaps they’ve learnt something from Coca-Cola after all. Hmm, that’s what I thought.
And in the end, imagine the following situation. You need to get from point A to point B. You can take a Toyota, Mercedes, Yugo – all cars have an engine, a steering wheel. It should take you where you want. However, a manner in which you’ll get there defines your satisfaction and experience. We would all like to take a Mercedes, but if our budget is enough for a Yugo only – well, the answer is simple. And a Mercedes does not cost that much only because its name sounds great – but because a team of exceptionally educated engineers spent days and nights considering safety performance of its vehicles, their reliability, quality, because long-standing commitment and tradition are behind that name. Why should it be any different in communications business? Think about it next time when you don’t understand why a proposal of a communications agency that has been present in the market for nearly twenty years, employing 100 educated people, investing a large share of its profit in business and human resources development every year, is more expensive than a proposal given by the neighbor’s kid (although he studied in the USA, good for him).