Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Quote Monkeys Don't Offer Solutions

In the past couple of years I have noticed a lot of interesting things working with many different advertising, public relations and social media agencies. One thing that sticks out, is consistent among them all, and is very interesting to me is the way many (most) of the agencies I have been exposed to feel the need to run around and throw out, what I call, shallow quotes.

Shallow quotes, it seems, are something a lot of agencies feel compelled to do for their demanding clients. I am not sure what came first, the ridiculous request for "quick turn" quote, or the agencies willingness to throw out some willy-nilly number based on little more than a loose idea with no real thought on actual execution, or even real solution providing value. Whichever the case, it seems very few are immune. Even the social media agencies, who position the value of the "conversation" do not seem to be averse to this tired approach. I do not completely blame the agencies, many of these requests come from clients who simply do not want to take the time to think through what they are asking for, and who may very easily interpret unwillingness to play along as an open door for another service provider.

So what is the net result of this exercise? From my perspective it rarely equates to a meaningful project. It usually positions the agency, and their partners, as a price-based vendor who is left to wonder why the client resorts to radio silence once the "number" is submitted.

My solution? In a perfect world when a client asks for this number, agency or otherwise, may want to take a step back, ask the client for their motivation for wanting this "number" and dissect, in an efficient and meaningful way, the true objective and reason for this request. Once that is discovered, you can formulate a real solution based on fact and a very real execution. It may take a little more time, but in this scenario I have seen a much better success rate of actual, and successful, project execution. Moreover, the agency is providing a much higher level of value. If your client does not recognize that, maybe they are not the type of client you want.

Quote monkeys rarely get the reward, and their clients rarely get a solution.