“We’d like to be your back-end support for logo design projects. We offer designs with unlimited revisions for $69.00.”
“If you’re looking for development support, we’re building websites and mobile apps for other agencies like yours. We offer pricing at a small percentage of stateside rates, giving you greater margins.”
These firms are commoditizing our industry, as well as many others. They are shepherding a race to the bottom that productizes what has always been a relationship-based service.
We cannot serve our client’s best interests unless we truly understand them, their product or service, their audience, their industry and their competition. Furthermore, involving them in the development process is the only way to reflect their attitude, personality and style in our work. It is not only vital, it brings to them real ownership of the end result.
All of that requires a relationship of proximity.
This is not about isolationism. We fully support free enterprise and understand how a collaborative world economy can foster innovation and raise all ships. But, to segregate the provider from the client does both parties a disservice. In the long run, we all lose. Our market rates get slashed, our industries suffer and our clients end up with “plain-vanilla” sameness that comes from canned solutions and the geographic, and sometimes cultural, disconnect.
But, what about our competitive edge? Will our business suffer if our competitors choose to employ these sources and drop their rates to steal our business? Perhaps. But, perhaps not. If we all avoid the shortsighted allure of quicker, bigger margins and keep our eyes focused on building relationships and delivering high-quality products and services, we can reverse these trends and secure the futures of each of our industries.
So, we have chosen principle over profits and politics.
We have chosen to decline short-term gains over long-term relationships.
We have chosen to do whatever we can to reverse the commoditization of our industry.
We’re taking a stand. Are you with us?
I recently visited the websites of some of the top design firms in the world. It was both inspiring and, truth be told, slightly intimidating. However, despite that, I did notice one consistent problem with a majority of them.
You cannot do it all and do it all well. Nobody can. I certainly can’t. Instead, I’m spending my time doing what I do best to make money and hire seasoned professionals to help with the rest.
Why aren’t you?
Nobody is an expert at everything. Nobody. At one time or another, we all find ourselves forced into situations outside of our comfort zones. That’s why it’s important to rely on the expertise of others to help you make educated decisions and get the job done right.
There’s no reason why you cannot go toe-to-toe with the “big boys.” That’s if you have the determination to up your game and bet on yourself. I’m willing to bet on you.
Your blog should begin with a clearly defined purpose and follow best practices in order to maximize its effectiveness. Here are a few business blogging tips to help you begin to carve out your role, educate your customers and distinguish your organization.
While I was enjoying a great pastime, I was also learning about the power of human potential. I discovered how greatness can be achieved through sheer will or by overcoming the challenges of unforeseen circumstances.
If your business is like ours, you don’t have a bottomless marketing budget to build awareness of a name that lacks clarity. We have to be more calculated and deliberate.
Your circle of influence should not be confined to your immediate sales prospects. That’s not what marketing in the 21st Century is about.
You are the only one in the world with your perspective. So, why not share it? How about a provocative question to start a discussion? There’s no reason why you can’t join the dialogue and help us shape it.
While it’s important that you not let your sales team dictate your promotional strategy, their influence cannot be underestimated. After all, they’re the ones out in the trenches day after day with their collective fingers on the market pulse more than anyone within the confines of the home office.