Shopping by value involves a balanced approach that considers both what you’re getting and what you’re paying. It’s common for me to ask prospective clients if they are shopping by price or by value. If they say price, I tell them we probably aren’t a good fit. Why? For two distinct reasons. First, we simply aren’t the least expensive marketing firm around. So if price is the most important factor, we’ll never win the job. But second, people who shop mostly based on price rarely compare apples to apples. For example, it would be absurd to ask a car dealer how much a car cost. How could they answer that question? The same is true for marketing or any other product or service where a number of options exists. But price shoppers don’t think that way. They don’t want to invest the time to learn about the options and make an educated, balanced decision. They just want a price.
During the early days of my company there was an instance where I worked really hard to accommodate a price shopper. He was referred to us, and had already decided we were his company of choice. But being a price shopper, his first question was about price. He didn’t ask about our process. He didn’t ask about how our services would benefit his company. None of that. He simply wanted to know what was the least expensive way to approach his project. I tried to explain the options, educate him on the benefits and costs and provide both short and long term strategies. But he couldn’t be bothered with any of it. Against my better judgement, we agreed on a short term solution and delivered. He was very happy with the immediate outcome. Again I tried to explain that our short term strategy was just that. It wouldn’t last long. About a year later I received an angry call from the client wherein he expressed his disappointment in what we’d provided because it was no longer delivering results. He said that we’d taken advantage of him and wanted us to make it right. Again I tried to explain. And again he couldn’t hear it. That was years ago when my company was new. But working with him was my mistake and I haven’t made the same mistake with others since.
Whatever you’re shopping for, shop by value, consider both the costs and the benefits and make a smart decision based on that balance. That’s certainly what I do.