Are we right for you?

Quick Answers
Do you take clients who aren't high-tech product or service providers?

We do have several clients outside this narrow band. Some are offshoots of our more traditional technology-based clients. Others started with us on a technology-related project such as designing a web site and then expanded their work with us into other areas.

The defining point of whether we take a client or not really doesn’t have much to do with the type of product or service they sell. We are more interested in the market they wish to serve, the way they sell into and through that market, and ultimately whether we believe we can help them do a better job. If we don’t see how we can add value to the relationship, we won’t pursue it.

Can I afford you?

We really don’t have a “budget threshold” like some other agencies. But we’re not foolish either. You will need money now to work with us.

The amount of money you’ll need depends entirely on what you want to accomplish. We’ve executed many projects that cost less than $1,000 each. Other, much more elaborate projects have cost in excess of $100,000. The latter may seem like a lot, but if those projects achieve or exceed the financial and strategic objectives you set – as it did for those clients – you’ll think it’s a bargain. And you’ll probably spend even more with us over time.

A few of our most successful long-term clients – each of whom now spends hundreds of thousands of dollars every year with us – started here when their total annual marketing budgets (for everything, including media) were less than $75,000. So, it is possible to start with a modest budget and grow significantly.
If you have a reasonable budget already, and have decided you want to work with us, great. Let us know what you want to do and we’ll work out the most efficient way to get you there, within the budget you have.

Are you open to alternative payment structures?

Not really. Our payment structure is pretty clear cut. We tell you how much something is going to cost. You agree in writing. We do the work we promised. We send you a bill for what you agreed to pay and when. You then pay us in full within our terms and in U.S. currency.

There’s no alternative acceptable to us.

So if you’re looking for us to work with you on “spec” with the promise of more to come later if this project works out, that simply won’t happen. We do not work for free under any circumstances.

We also have no interest in “sweat equity” deals. You may have the greatest idea in world. But if you don’t have enough money in hand now, and are willing to write good checks on it today to us, we can’t work with you.

What clients will you not accept?

Potential clients without money in hand are automatically off the table. As are those with a bad track record of paying their bills, or are engaged in a business we aren’t comfortable being associated with.

Most of the above won’t be referred to us by anyone we know and trust, anyway.

Still, even if a potential client has money and a stellar reputation, corporately and personally, we may also opt not to work with them for the simple and honest reason that we don’t think we can truly help them achieve their objectives. They may be in a field best served by other specialized firms, where we simply have neither the structure nor the background they need.

There are other potential clients we cannot handle because of conflicts with our current clients. We’re very old-fashioned about that. Call us if you have any questions.

What’s the best way to find out if we’re right for each other?

Let’s get together first, either in person or over the phone. We won’t “pitch you.” Instead, we’ll want to learn more about you, your company, your product or service, and what you want to accomplish.

By the nature of our questions alone, you’ll learn a lot more about us, how we think, and how we work. By your answers, we’ll be able to make an educated guess if we can help you.

Then, if we can help you, and you think we are the type of people you want to work with, let’s do a single project together. And if that works out to your expectations, we can go forward from there.

That’s how we’ve done it since 1988. It’s the best way we’ve found to build a solid, rational relationship.

There's a great temptation among many agencies to throw their arms wide and welcome everyone to be their client.

We think that's unrealistic. Not every potential client is a good fit for us. Nor are we for them. We've chosen a mode of operation and a set of standards that may not match what many clients are looking for.

All this may sound somewhat mysterious and perhaps even a little arrogant. It's not intended to be either.

It's just that we are optimized, by design, to serve a relatively small number of high-technology-oriented clients, who prize performance, reliability and service from their agencies more so than lower prices. Not that cost isn't ever an issue; no one – including us – ever wants to pay more than they have to. But our typical clients operate with us at a much faster pace, with a much more intense level of daily interaction, and rely on us to carry more "weight" of the responsibilities of most projects; they willingly pay a fair price for all that.

They take their active participation in the relationship with us very seriously, too. A client once said to us: "You don’t have any lazy clients." She was right. Working so closely together, and usually within such tight time frames, we often share interdependent tasks and swap duties between us as needed to achieve our mutual goals. The lines between client and agency are blurred.

Now that's not everyone's style. It's certainly not the traditional "client/agency" relationship. Some people are uncomfortable with this degree of integration, where sometimes the client is helping to write and edit content, and other times the agency is coordinating activities of the client's other vendors, for example.

But if this approach sounds pretty good to you – something you wish you had in place already – we might be right for you.