The busy executive’s guide to hiring a digital marketing agency: How to talk about budgets with a firm

How to talk about budgets with a firm


Money is one of the hardest subjects to talk about. This applies in business just as much as in your personal life. Just like it feels weird to talk to your friends about money, many businesses feel strange being transparent with an outside partner about the real budget available.

This is because budget is seen as a negotiation tactic. I have heard the following too many times to count while discussing budgets with clients coming through Credo:
We want the best agency we can get for the best price possible.

Who doesn’t, right?

Unfortunately, this mindset and answer are not helpful and are actually extremely counterproductive to your project’s success. The most successful projects we have seen involve both sides being transparent with and trusting the other.

Let me put this plainly: the vast majority of people are honest and not looking to take advantage of you.

Yes, there are bad actors who are indeed trying to take advantage and make as much money as possible for as little work as possible, but should we be optimizing towards those bad actors instead of towards the good ones?

I once had a client come through Credo who was getting a lucrative business started in a fantastic location. They had funding and talked a big game, like they were ready to make a real run at succeeding and were ready to put substantial marketing budget behind working with an agency. But when I put them in contact with some agencies, the agencies came back and said that the client only had $500/mo to spend.

The client was annoyed, the agencies were annoyed, and I was annoyed. The sad thing is, all of this could have been avoided if the client had been honest with me about what they could spend.

Be transparent with your budget limitations. Most providers (and all of them that we work with on Credo) are not out to take advantage of you. Starting off the relationship by withholding information and playing power games does not set it up for success.

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