What are you actually getting for your money? Marketing agencies explained

By |January 9th, 2015|

Big agency or small vendor, you should always have a clear understanding of what it is you are buying. Often we receive calls from people who want a website, but they are just not very sure about what it is they actually need. Nor are they clear about what sort of vendor they should be contacting. They may have no idea of what a professional website costs to plan, design and develop. Often they are not sure what they want their own website to DO for them.

Roughly speaking, there are five tiers of design, development and SEO providers. Here is a brief explanation of each level, from our point of view.

Level One:
Low-cost college students, perhaps with a hacked copy of Photoshop. Also included in this group are the free-lancers and offshore contract workers to be found online at sites such as Elance or via online classifieds such as Craigslist. If you are on a extremely low budget AND have a clear understanding of what you actually need in a website or marketing projects, and can articulate and explain fully exactly what you want in deliverables, this option may work out for you as a starting point. We don’t typically recommend this, but if you are on a very tight budget it might be worth the gamble.

Level Two:
Smaller digital marketing company, often trying to give the illusion of more depth and breadth than they actually have. Here you probably will get a designer or developer, and maybe his friend who knows a quite little about quite a lot. Perhaps they have some outsourcing resources. Low overhead and relatively affordable rates most times. You can find talented designers and developers in this sized firm, but rarely are they actual experts in the full spectrum of the web design and development process including SEO, or other aspects of design and marketing such as print, video or trade show display. These are usually veterans of larger agencies, trying to make a go of it on their own. The challenge with a smaller firm like this is that your marketing money does not always go towards the marketing your organization actually needs, you may be steered towards what the agency knows how to do best, rather than what you actually need.

Level Three:
Medium-sized design and digital marketing firms with multiple employees and additional contract workers with expertise and proficiencies in a number of practices. Low overhead. A hybrid of affordable expertise. This is where Queen B Marketing fits in. With a medium-sized design firm such as ours, you will have full support to meet all of your marketing needs. With 45 experts currently on board, we are able to excel above our competition and still keep our overhead costs low. You get the advantage of communicating directly with the creative team working on your project, instead of going through a sales person, as is typical of larger agencies. We have hand selected team members who are experts in very specialized skills, therefore we can provide a full spectrum of needs from extensive SEM strategies and campaign implementation to highly customized web applications to innovative copywriting to vinyl-wrap designs for autos. There are few firms that can offer such a wide assortment of marketing deliverables with such a depth of true expertise backing them up.

Level Four::
Larger design agencies and digital marketing firms with high-dollar offices, usually in a trendy part of town. Although the look is high gloss and exciting, very high rates to match are the norm. After all, somebody has to pay for that rent and the matching high-dollar furnishings for their offices! Oftentimes these larger firms have a couple highly skilled designers and great art direction in their roster, but they also typically employ junior designers fresh out of school to flesh out their staff. Typically back end development is outsourced and is not their strong suite. You seldom get one-on-one time with your actual designer for your project, apart from a preliminary meeting or two. These larger sized firms are all the image. Typically they will have some larger local or even national clients and talk a lot about “brand recognition”. You will receive a fancy branded Holiday gift from them in the mail each year. You will probably get a nice looking website with adequate programming behind it that costs quite a bit more than it needs to, and won’t necessarily do what your business actually needs it to, or rank well on search engines. Multi-touch campaigns with a bulky direct mail piece, a web deliverable and telemarketing touch are a favorite of these sized agencies. In almost all cases a firm like this will charge high for any changes out of scope on the original project as well as additional charges for ongoing enhancements, SEO, etc.

Level five:
The Super Mega Ad Agencies – Think Mad Men. This super elite tier consists of advertising agencies who work with companies such as Coca-Cola and Ford and are far out of the reach of most organizations’ marketing budgets. With a marketing agency such as this, you will be wined and dined by your Account Executive and probably receive a lot of nice perks such as pro sporting event tickets and other swag. You will discuss campaigns over very nice lunches. This level of Ad Agency is not the norm, and if you can afford them, you already are talking to them.

All these levels have their own merits. It’s all about finding which is the right fit for your business, budget and project. It’s easy for newer businesses and smaller businesses to try to save when it comes to marketing budgets because outwardly, the results can be somewhat intangible. Will a great logo earn you more money than a mediocre logo? Will solid SEO implemented on your site get you a high return on investment? Will an SEM campaign get you more customers? You bet it will! By choosing the mid-level hybrid that Queen B Marketing is, you can enjoy FULL SERVICE marketing, knowledgeable guidance, and affordable rates. We specialize in turn-key solutions for businesses, and innovative, goal driven marketing that gets results.

Queen B Marketing basic r​ates
We typically recommend monthly packages as the best value
Design ​ work: based on an $55/hr rate
Programming work is based on a $80/hr rate
SEO link building based on a $18/hr rate for link building
Copywriting is based on a .25c/word rate.
Video creation costs range dramatically depending on project. Please tell us about your needs.