In the first of our series of sales blogs, we take a look a the important issue of product and pricing. They’re two key elements in the traditional 4 Ps of the marketing mix; price, product, promotion and place. We will look at:
- Defining the product offer
- Correct and competitive pricing
- Bespoke service pricing
- Assessing overheads
Sales and marketing. Two words any creative person will dread to a greater or lesser extent. The longer a creative spends in business, the more important these things become. It is impossible to ignore how one side of the business depends on the other. As such, by establishing some frameworks early on you will ensure a much smoother ride as your focus gets stretched to other parts of the business.
Defining your product offer sounds simple but establishing what it is you offer and staying on that track, at least in the short term, is not so simple. You want business and when you’re starting out, you will be ready to say yes to almost anything partly down to enthusiasm but also because you need to pay the bills. Rightly so, but being careful about the kind of work you get a name for will lay down a marker for the kind of customer and client you attract going forward. An addendum to this – you don’t have to promote all the jobs you have done.
Silicon Valley tech companies provide many lessons in business and whilst their back end development is highly complex, they keep the product offering to customers very simple. By spoon-feeding the product benefits and making sure the pricing is both competitive and straightforward ensures the customer knows exactly what they’re getting. You don’t want to confuse them at an early stage.
By making the product offer and the pricing as direct and efficient as possible, you make the customer journey smooth and pain-free. The customer may or may not have a budget, nor the fullest idea of how they want something captured, so in order to ease their decision making process it’s vital to light their way clearly. By offering simple solutions to their problems you become a partner in their project and a shoulder to lean on.
No two jobs are the same. Offering a simple price structure also needs to go in hand-in-hand with a caveat or at least room to account for the likely additions to any creative process. Customers and clients are usually unaware of the technical and time-consuming aspects involved with set-ups or planning for another series of photographs. It may well be a simple request on their part, but another three hours on your’s and in this event, your margin of profit, will quickly disappear and the seeds of discontent get sewn.
By correctly assessing your overheads, both prior to setting your price structure and also when quoting for specific jobs, it’s possible to negate this risk and qualify it with the customer prior to any agreement. Allowing for the unexpected, and let’s face it, mostly expected, within your overheads, it removes any doubt and will lead to far stronger relationships with your clients in the long run. There will be mutual respect in both directions and a clear understanding of the job in hand.
So in conclusion, defining and simplifying your product and pricing realistically are two key basics to your successful business model. Experience will help you pitch these correctly, which unfortunately you cannot put a price on.