What is Good Value for Digital Services?

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I heard a great story a while back about Frank Lloyd Wright’s house design ‘Falling Water’. Frank was a famous American Architect and Interior Designer, the house seen above is widely regarded as his finest work.

The story goes that a call came into Frank’s office from Edgar Kaufmann, the client, to say he was a 90 minute train ride from his office and could he come in to look at the designs.  

Frank said:

“Sure, we’ll pop the kettle on and get some Rich Teas ready for you” and put the phone down.

His assistant said:

“Are you out of your flippin mind? You haven’t even started the designs! And what the hell are Rich Teas?”

Frank replied:

“Don’t worry, grab me a pen and some paper and I’ll get to work”

Now I can’t be sure that was the exact transcript, but you get the idea, 90 minutes later the client arrived and Frank had sketched the building you see above. He loved it and so it was built!

So should the client have been charged for 90 minutes work? If your answer is yes, then consider that may not be the best way to get results out of them. Frank’s value was his experience and his vision, not how long it took him to draw the building.

The same applies to almost any agency work. Do you want to pay an agency by the hour to just ‘do’ things as a commodity? For example, this blog post. Perhaps this could be written in a couple of hours but it’s worth asking yourself the following questions:

  • How long did it take to come up with the idea?
  • To research?
  • Source the photos?
  • Edit the text?
  • Have it checked by several people?
  • Upload to the website?
  • Optimise for search (SEO)?
  • Do keyword research for the brand?
  • Build the specific target audience on the social platforms?
  • Has it been outreached?
  • How long will it take to analyse the reach and its effectiveness?
  • How many years experience has the writer got in this field?

The most important thing to consider is how this blog fits in with a wider strategic goal for the brand. That’s not a 2 minute consideration and requires more then one person providing their experienced opinion. There’s a team of people that looked over that blog post, including the most senior members on the client’s side. 

So yes, if you’re employing a freelance writer or internal team member to write you a blog, that’s great! But do they have the capacity, experience and knowledge to make sure the article is going to do something for your brand, or is it just a vanity project that ticks a box? If you’re allowing your agency half a day to write a blog post, consider that there may be a lot more to it then just typing text.

Ultimately, if you want value from your agency, give them the space to come up with good ideas and the time to execute them – if you do, you can expect fantastic results!

If the quality of the work is average because the team are rushed, then your audience is going to see that in the end results. We live in a world where people’s attention span is… are you still reading?

You get the gist.

If you need help with not only the ‘doing’ but also the thinking, planning and executing of your digital strategy just give me more than 90 minutes to source you some Rich Teas.

James – Ideas Pedlar