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From the Trenches

Is $22,000 the Price or the Value?

Mike Sweeney | March 4, 2010

“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”

I’m not sure when Warren Buffet uttered those words, or in what context, but I have every reason to listen to and embrace that type of thinking.

Chris Brogan is no Warren Buffet, but he is no stranger to building businesses and personal celebrity. He set the marketing world on fire yesterday when he published his daily rate – the rate a business pays (or at least is asked to pay) to occupy his full attention span for a day. The rate is around $22,000. For those of you who haven’t seen that number previously, insert your yikes, holy s%^&, and no ways here.

That’s more than Barack Obama earns on a daily basis to address issues far more important than marketing strategy. That’s 1.5 times what Kevin Durant, the NBA’s second-leading scorer, makes on a daily basis.

I love the fact that Brogan published it. He clearly thinks – and more importantly his paying clients think – that his contribution in a day is worth $22,000 or more.

Particularly in the marketing world, we see too much of the opposite these days. Within the next 5 minutes, I can likely find a $500 website offering, or a $49/month consulting package, or someone offering a $15 hourly rate on high quality copywriting. It’s ugly, and whether marketing folks like to admit it or not, it has a negative impact on all of us.

Just today, we had to make 2 or 3 tough pricing decisions in our business. Fortunately, we have a pretty simple set of questions we ask ourselves when we’re trying to determine pricing.

  • How much value can we create for the client?
  • How much value does the work create for Right Source Marketing?
  • At what level of revenue and/or profit can we genuinely get excited to do the work for the client, ensuring that we’ll deliver the optimal experience for the client and for Right Source?

Yes, we consider hard costs. Yes, we consider time and effort. Yes, we consider what the market will bear. That being said, our primary considerations are value (for the client and for us) and level of excitement.

Old models based on flawed pricing assumptions are falling by the wayside daily. You – as a marketing professional, firm or agency – have two choices. Succumb to the pressure of price, or resist that temptation and pitch and deliver value.

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About Mike Sweeney:

As Right Source’s co-founder and CEO, Mike Sweeney creates, plans, and implements our vision, mission, culture, and strategic direction as well as serving as an advisor to our clients. Mike received a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a major in marketing from the University of Notre Dame and has more than 20 years of experience in B2B marketing strategy, including digital, content, and marketing technology. You can find Mike on LinkedIn.