Are you buying hours or results?

One of the dilemmas companies face when buying in external digital marketing support is how to measure value for money.

The traditional agency model is to charge clients per hour. But in our experience, clients don’t want to buy 20 hours or so of an agency’s time. What they want to buy is a commitment to achieving a particular goal, and for the agency to do the work required to achieve that goal, whether that takes 20 hours or 25.

We’ve worked in-house for large companies, and understand how frustrating it is when the commercial goals seem to get lost among discussions about hours logged. Conversely, we’ve worked in agencies that have billed clients each month for hours worked, all the while failing to make that critical link between marketing and revenue generation/retention.

Sure, clients usually want to see more website visitors, hordes of engaged social media users following them on Twitter, great open rates on their email campaigns. But what does this translate into? If it’s not worthwhile brand awareness or custom through the door – is it really achieving the client’s goals?

By working with an agency that constantly asks: “How is this task adding value to the client?” it’s possible to achieve much stronger, worthwhile results. It takes a value-based mindset to commit to helping the client get what they want, focusing the hours of busy-ness where it matters most.

But what’s most valuable to you? An end-of-month meeting with your agency to hear that the hours have been clocked, the bill generated but that the task proved more difficult for one reason or another so now you’ve got to pay more for the same result? Or an agency with a different mindset that understands what your marketing must achieve, and does all it can to deliver significant ROI. We know which we’d prefer…