Cutting ad costs.

Advertisers are no different than folks who try to save money by negotiating a “deal” or justifying a premise on which the ad agency should price their work. Here are some of the more interesting techniques that clients have used over the past 50+ years. I have heard it all; here are some of my favorites:

“This shouldn’t take you long.” Assuming that if it’s quick it has to be cheap. In some cases this may be true, but the amount of time spent on a project is just one factor considered in the overall cost. There is the degree of difficulty. In other words if the project requires special talents or functions, that will add to the cost, More often than not the client sees projects as simple tasks and does not realize all that goes into producing a professional advertisement. So it might not take long, but that doesn’t mean it’s cheap.

“We are going to be spending a lot of money down the road.” Ahh, the promise of things to come… This is supposed to motivate the ad firm to reduce their fees on the initial projects and make it up later. This “give it to me cheap now and I let you screw me later” NEVER works. If the company makes it, their philosophy will prevail and they will always go with the lowest bidder. But in my experience, most of these ventures never get off the ground due to lack of capital and poor management. So the promise is never fulfilled. More important, no ethical professional will take this bait.

“We are also talking to other ad agencies.” In other words you are in a bidding war for our business. Competition is good, but if a marketer is buying on price alone you are not get the best ad agency. Experienced professional advertising services do not base their fees on bidding war mentality. While ad fees vary, they are competitive with the experience and services offered. Creativity, capabilities and personal chemistry should be considered along with costs. A freelance art student just starting out is naturally going to charge less than an experienced professional full-service marketing firm

“Same ad; just change the headline” By requesting minor changes some clients think they are going to save money. The truth is they are wasting money. Sure it’s cheaper to make a change like a headline then creating a new ad. But it’s like putting a paint job on the old car. It looks different, but everyone knows it’s your old car. If you have something new worth marketing, then spend the money to create a unique ad that will generate sales!

“If you don’t charge me too much on this ad I can do more ads.” I actually had at least three clients make this statement. I responded to one client by predicting he could sell twice as many products by reducing his prices by 50%. He thought about it for a minute then said, “I’d have to hire more people and my shipping costs would go up…. I’d be loosing money” BINGO! All of a sudden this was not such a good idea. Every marketing professional would like to have their clients run more ads, but not at the ad agencies expense.

“Ill give you half when the ad is done and the balance when I make some sales.” This is an attempt to get the ad agency to finance the advertisers’ promotions, and it doesn’t work. When I was young and naive I actually fell for a couple of these “deals” and got hung out to dry every time. Since then I made a deal with the bank; I don’t finance businesses and they don’t design advertising. The advertising firm has no control on the client’s products, quality, customer service, delivery, or their ability to collect money. So there is no guarantee money will be generated from sales.

Most ad agencies and marketing consultants will work with tight budgets and do everything possible to produce quality great ads and collateral that produces sales. Be honest and open with these professionals and they will bend over backwards to promote your business, but please do not try any of the tactics above. Tom Smisek Marketing Consultants serving Orange County California since 1980 For more information contact: