Tenato logo


Pricing Professional Services

Our Own First-Hand Lesson in Pricing Strategic Marketing Services

Marketing Guru?It seems even a so-called guru can learn from her clients, and in this case I refer to “yours truly”.  I hope this doesn’t mean I’m not a guru – I’ll just take it that I’m still a humble guru!  You know, like my “Keychain Yoda”!  Here’s what I mean.

Back in January, a prospective client asked that we consider restructuring our pricing into a monthly model to better accommodate her ongoing cash flow.  Because she was a lovely woman with a very solid business, we gave it a shot, even though there is typically a heavy amount of work in the first few months, and less thereafter.

The effects were quite groundbreaking.

While normally we take an approach of doing a strategic marketing plan as a project (a larger, upfront investment), and budget various projects within the plan, the “spreading of payments” approach she needed had an interesting effect on the relationship overall.

To give you a bit more detail, we spread out payments to include all in-house services she was likely to need.  There were a few minor projects that were “extra”, but for the most part, everything was bundled into her flat monthly fee, spread over the year.

Rather than thinking of a plan as a major project itself, compounded with yet more major projects, the newly structured pricing had the effect of providing marketing and consulting services with a more “evolutionary” feel.   We didn’t feel we needed to create one, large perfect plan right away, but that we could pick off aspects gradually and implement them as we went.   While we followed the same strategic planning process we would have normally (because it is logical and has a great flow), we also made room for getting some things started along the way, before the plan would have been considered “complete.”

For example, we gave her branding a little update before really tackling her pricing structures for new markets she was entering.  We also coached her on important proposals she was making as they arose.

The effect of this has been very interesting.  Rather than recommending a gigantic amount of change at once, what we have provided has become more like “coaching toward evolution”.   The client is progressing in a manner she is very capable of implementing, and we are developing a good ongoing relationship during which we can continually evolve her plan.  Her business is growing right on track, and she is already talking about continuing on the program next year.

A good analogy would be this:  A typical strategic plan is like making a 20 foot to-do list for what you’re going to do the whole year.  In contrast, this new approach was like putting half a dozen things on the list, getting that done, and then putting another half dozen on the list, and getting that done.    Admittedly, while we have had great success with other clients, some of them have been overwhelmed by their plans.  So in reflection, I now believe that certainly with some clients, this new consulting fee structure might indeed be the best approach to developing strategic marketing plan and getting it successfully implemented.

It is such a wonderful treat to have those rare clients who help YOU while you are helping them!   A beautiful thing to be sure.

Want to know more about how we price, or share your thoughts?   Check out our Consulting Fee Structure page and give us some feedback.  Or call to chat today.  P.S. If you call me “Keychain Yoda” I guarantee you a gigantic belly laugh — hold the phone far away from your ear, my friend!

Share this:

About the Author - Jacqueline Drew
Jacqueline M. Drew, BComm, MBA is founder and CEO of Tenato Strategy Inc., a marketing research and strategy firm with bases in Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto. With over 25 years' experience in all facets of marketing strategy, she is a business consultant, trainer and speaker who loves to use her superpowers "to help the good guys win."