Show Us the Budget

by Patricia Fitzgerald

There’s a question we typically ask prospective new clients — one that’s typically followed by an awkward silence: “What’s your budget?”

For myriad reasons, businesses can be reluctant to share their marketing or project budgets with the agencies they’re considering hiring. Perhaps it’s because they want to see what numbers the competing agencies come back with, and then choose accordingly. Maybe it’s because they don’t want to let the cat out of the bag, in case the agency comes in with a lower amount. In some cases, it could simply be because the client simply doesn’t know how much they have or are willing to spend.

Whatever the reason, there’s a strong argument to be made for revealing your budget right up front. Here’s ours.

Are we good for each other?

Knowing your budget will allow us — and you — to determine whether we’re a good fit for your project. There’ve been occasions where we’ve spent a good chunk of time talking in-depth with clients about their website needs, only to find they have $500 to spend on their website.

Which is totally fine — only we’re not the agency for that particular project. If we know you have a under $1,000 to spend on a site, we can recommend other more affordable options and resources right away — saving us both time. Conversely, if you’re working with a multi-million-dollar budget for your website, then we may not be the right agency for you either. I mean, we’re good and all, but Chiat\Day we ain’t.

Right-sizing your solution.

Without knowing your budget range, it can be a challenge (to say the least) to propose the right solutions to your marketing needs. Withhold your budget, and it basically becomes a guessing game on our part. We could end up recommending communications and campaigns that break your bank, or underestimating the investment you’re willing to make and thus underwhelming you with our proposal.

Knowing your budget range allows us to propose a right-sized and realistic website, brand identity, collateral system, advertising strategy, or whatever communications we feel will best reach your goals — within your spending parameters. This saves us the time of having to go back to rework our recommendations when we learn they’re out of budget, and you the frustration of delaying your project.

Less back and forth.

Believe it or not, without budget parameters, agencies often come in with estimates much higher than you might expect. Which means you’ll have to spend the time and resources to negotiate pricing, figure out where you can lower costs, and find alternative solutions.

By knowing your budget right up front, we’re able to provide an accurate estimate that’s more likely to be quickly approved so the work can begin.

Choose with confidence.

If you’re looking at multiple agencies for your project, providing a budget can be a better and more accurate way to compare and choose. By sharing the same budget with all contenders, you’ll be basing your decision on the quality of the proposal, thinking, and capabilities of each agency — rather than on pricing, which can be misleading. The cheapest agency isn’t always the best choice. Neither is the most expensive.

So next time you speak with an agency you’re thinking of hiring and they ask for your budget, don’t be shy. Show them what you’ve got, so they can return the favor. If you don’t know your budget, then we recommend taking the time to establish one before you start shopping for agencies. But that’s a topic for another blog post.

We’d love to see your budget, if you’re willing to show it. Reach out to us today.

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