How Long is a Piece of String?

A silly question, yes?  And the answer can only be, “twice as long as half its length.”

Yet over the years, I’ve had many prospects and clients who pose similar queries, such as “How much does a promotional program cost?” or “How long does it take to get this product?” or “What do you charge for a brochure?”  The answer is always the same: “That depends.”

What necessarily follows is a bank of questions about the company, its products or services, what has and hasn’t worked in the past, what their objective is, ad nauseam.

Sadly, some prospects quickly grow irritated by the questioning, failing or refusing to realize that no agency, marketing group, or promotions business worth its salt can and will provide viable recommendations and cost estimates without those answers.  Otherwise, they’ll be firing off the client’s budget in the dark…and that kind of blind budget shotgunning is destined for failure.

This applies equally to the development of a dimensional marketing program and the mere ordering of some promo widget.  In both cases, the primary consideration must be, “What do you want to accomplish with this?”

In other words, if  you don’t know where you want to go, don’t hit the road until you do…or you may wind up hundred$ of mile$ from where you thought you were going.

If  you’re an advertiser, you want a product/service provider who first asks you why.  And if you’re on the opposite side of the budget, you need to ask that same question – if only to CYA should the advertising fail.

I love it when someone calls us for a quote on a gross of coffee cups, for example.  I then ask them how they plan to use the product, and too often they just don’t know.

So that string?  It needs to be quantified and qualified before its “length” can be measured.

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