How the digital age is killing the traditional ad agency

This next scenario is one that will relate to many business owners, and may anger others (you know who you are).

So, you have a business or organization that needs the complete set up: a logo, business cards, brochures, website, signs and letterhead. You know of several advertising agencies and you start calling around to set up several appointments to obtain quotes for the work needed to produce the professional look that will lift your company into orbit.

You go to their offices and are showed to their impresive conference room, offered coffee or tea. You sit for a while and stare at all of the decore, listening to the radio play something familiar - thinking that all those logos and images on the wall are logos and very successful jobs they've done before. You notice that they've spared no expense on the conference room table and everything looks simply incredible.

After 4 - 5 minutes, three or more very professionally dressed people enter the room and they smile as they discuss what they can do for you. Prices are not discussed openly as a proposal needs to be created to detail the scope of the job, and what they recomend you do for your business or venture.

Then the shock and dizziness hit you square in the face as all three quotes come back well above $12K and one is even above $20K!! You try to reason with yourself, knowing that you want quality work, and know that these guys are professionals. At least they seemed professional. In the back of your mind, you are doing the mathmatical negotiations to figure out what is going to be short-changed so that you can afford one of their branding packages. Business Owners - does this scene sound familiar to you at all?

How does it feel when I tell you that it really costs much less for a branding package?

How does it feel when I tell you that you have been sold for an exorbitant amount to cover all of the expenses in the development of these items you need for your success?

How have you been cheated?

Well, someone had to pay for the Ad Agencie's rent or mortgage this month. Someone had to pay for the incredible conference room. And don't forget that incredible conference room table - that cost a pretty penny. The receptionist, the art on the walls, and the free delicious coffee they gave you... who pays for that? Oh, and don't forget the property maintenance man and cleaners that clean the establishment needed their cut too.

You have been over-quoted because of one thing. Large Overhead.

Traditional Ad Agencies are still stuck in their ways with so much overhead that their design job quotes are over inflated to cover thier own expenses to be able to have such an impressive establishment with all the trimmings. This is how it has been for almost 200 years. You go there, you are impressed, you hear their jovial pitch, then left waitin for the anvil to fall on you when you get the price tag.

But, as you may have noticed, there is a fast change occurring in this digitally-connected age that is sweeping over the traditional ad agency and squashing the fluff out of the impressive sell and the big price tag. Yes, I am saying that you can get  more bang for the buck if you know where to look.

Many graphic design professionals and webmasters along with programmers are networking together from their home studios and offices to produce the same professional level of work you would expect from "the big boys". Ad agencies and those who have worked for agencies are moving away from this centuries-old trend to remove the overhead costs to provide more value to their customers, and to acquire more customers.

How do they give you more value? First of all, they roll up their sleeves, and come to your place of work or office to get more of a personal feel for the business. They take the time to discuss your business with you in the actual business environment. Instead, they bring you Starbucks. Instead, they sit down at your table and learn. Why would they need an impressive office when they are working on your branding? Don't they need to know your business more to produce the real results you need?

Secondly, with internet professionals, programmers and designers working digitally with each other with such flexible ease today, you only need to cover their hourly expenses. You do not need your money to pay for the companies CEO, VP of marketing, receptionist, junior executive account manager, lawyer, maintenance man, cleaning lady, the ad placement staff, or coffee. All of these are drawing income off the sale of your account. This is why they have to pad the price.

Take my advice - you can get much, much more for your money. Believe me - I have worked in an advertising agency before. You are being robbed!

My development firm was started at home in 1996 with the internet boom. I have the same and even more education and experience that many of the other ad agency owners have - but elected to use the digital age to my customer's advantage. Customers that receive a quote from my firm are not only relieved, but feel like a great deal has just hit them in the face. Our prices for branding development are so low that traditional ad agencies even hire me to do their work!

Over the years, I have collected a tried and true network of support for anything I need to have produced for a client. From genious graphic artists to talented programmers to business consultants to website designers to application developers to ad placement professionals to sign developers... all who work out of their home office or studio as well.

Why do we get more customers? Our secret is that each of the people in my network have their own business. This means that not only is my company thriving because of these other low-overhead professionals, but their company is thriving as well. Because we are all networked and know the strengths of each other, a win for their business is a win for mine. If they get a client, I will be helping them with their project. If I get a client, they will be helping me with the production. I hate to quote Charlie Sheen when I say "Winning!", but it is the simple truth. This formula equals the influx of many clients, incredible stability and growth in our careers.

This knowledge means that you can skip the large overhead and the inflated prices of the traditional ad agency and go directly to the source, and to pay only for what you need - not the additional fluff that leaves you flipping out over the bill for the traditional ad agency and all the added expense it comes with. This means that nothing has to be short-changed in the development of your own business.