It's the 1st February today which means you've run out of time to take advantage of Glazer's fee sale.
Throughout January you have been able to use the design consultancy Glazer and gain 10% off their fee or a whopping 15% if you book before the 11th Jan!
This is a terrible idea. There's no two ways about it, this is an awful idea. I'll hesitate on saying it drags the whole industry down, but it's not far off.
I can understand the attraction to the consultancy.
1. It seems like a fun, PR-able idea, "Everyone on the high street is having a sale, why don't we!".
2.The 10% of fee lost in January will be recouped if that client stays for the year, or many years.
3. January is a quiet month, this will boost sales and give the New Biz people something to talk about.
4. What's 10% between friends anyway?
Firstly it's not PR able, because it's just not that interesting. Client don't expect consultancies to have a fee sale. They probably don't know what your fees are anyway, they just negotiate fees on a project or agency basis. Apple cutting the price of iPhones 10% is news, this isn't.
Design consultancies work had to explain their fees and why they are reasonable. Designers constantly moan that they can't charge as much as ad agencies, lawyers, plumbers, doctors, anyone and then someone knocks a whopping 10% off. If a new client is attracted under this scheme how are they going to feel when the fees go up 11% in February. If they start off being charged 90% an increase back to 100% is an increase of 11% of 90.
Is January really that quiet? Does this make you look a bit desperate? Have the phones stopped ringing? Do you New Biz people need to offer a 10% discount to attract clients?
As I've explained 10% is a lot when it gets put back up. This idea makes the consultancy look cheap and undoes a lot of good work done by a lot of successful design consultancies. It's a silly, flippant idea which doesn't deserve to be taken seriously.
What do you think?
(It only seems fair that I contact Glazer and ask them for a comment. More soon.)
"Client(s) don't expect consultancies to have a fee sale."
Good point. Good reason to have one.
And no one complains when the sales are over and the sweaters are more expensive again, do they?
It´s a business, after all.
Posted by: Blip | Feb 01, 2008 at 08:51
You're absolutely right, Ben. It's a big mistake. I think you've made all the arguments against it so lucidly, there's nothing much to add. And that down 10%, back up 11% thing - bizarre. This is why I failed at maths. It won't stand still.
Posted by: Mike Reed | Feb 01, 2008 at 09:32
It's an interesting idea, but as you say the later increase will spoil any benefit the client feels.
It also says to most clients "they can afford to drop by 10%, so whatever they offer first we refuse til they drop it by 10%."
Posted by: Rob Mortimer | Feb 01, 2008 at 09:51
I think you're being a bit harsh.
But I agree that it doesn't work. I think where this fails is that it appears too serious. If they'd executed it better, really dialled up the pastiche - starbursts, an 0800 number, cheesy shot of designer at mac, that sort of thing - I'm guessing you might even have been complimentary. But they didn't. And you weren't.
It certainly backfires on Glazer, but are they really doing such a disservice to designerkind? Surely the presence of inexpensive designers with bad ideas helps justify the fees of more expensive designers with good ideas?
Posted by: patrick | Feb 01, 2008 at 10:11
But is the price really the point here? I wouldn't hire them for being 10% or 15% cheaper for one month. I would hire them for doing something unexpected.
Posted by: Blip | Feb 01, 2008 at 11:40
I would be interested in how many new clients have come on board in January directly because of the sale, or was the idea to encourage existing clients to contact them? Am I being dumb or wouldnt these clients contact them anyway if they felt this consultancy would work well on a campaign? and will this result in a quiet february now?
Posted by: caroline | Feb 01, 2008 at 12:04
I agree with you Ben and I actually think it does bring the industry down a bit. Perhaps they were trying to pull it off in a funny sort of way but if that's true I think they missed it.
Posted by: Nick | Feb 01, 2008 at 14:11
Basic rule - applicable to any industry. Once you start overtly competing on price, you're saying there's nothing about your product/service that you believe is worthy of commanding a premium.
Posted by: John Dodds | Feb 01, 2008 at 14:46
Hang on... Apple have cut the price of iPhones by 10%?
Posted by: Andy | Feb 01, 2008 at 15:16
Yes, all points are valid, but the fact that this got their site posted here, as well as on other design blogs, and that we're all talking about them, is already amazing publicity. Bet they get a job or two out of all this exposure.
Posted by: Debbie | Feb 02, 2008 at 02:16
xx% off sales may work for consumers, but for business?
This isn't really going to attract anyone but small businesses - seeing as the money may be coming out of THEIR pocket and, dare I say it, that is the lower end of the market.
Posted by: Craig Killick | Feb 02, 2008 at 10:49
i now work at an agency that recently picked up a piece of business no doubt helped by a 'first month for free' commitment.
i think this is a bad way to do business. its out there bribery and it demeans the potential value we can add, and why clients should hire us.
and the clients that go for it are unlikely to be good clients so i have to work on shit things as a result. everybody loses.
Posted by: Mr x | Feb 03, 2008 at 22:47
First of all, I think you're taking this very seriously - it's their bloody business, if they want to give a gimmick a try then why not? If it doesn't work for them they won't do it again. I doubt any client would be daft enough to run straight for a 'sale' sign without taking all the normal decision factors into account.
Mr x and Craig - so do small businesses not deserve good design? Small businesses and start-ups pour an enourmous amount of effort into making things work with very restricted funds. OK there might be a more direct way of giving a helping hand to these sorts of clients but if it helps a small business grow, what's wrong with that? Frankly you just sound a bit snobby. If you only ever want to design for big name clients you're going to end up pretty frustrated.
Posted by: Vicki Brown | Feb 04, 2008 at 09:56
Ummmm... Yeah It's called pricing ethics. It may start with 10% off, but where does it end? Yes, true it affects small business more so, but thats how most design consultancies that I know of get started. Start small. Sooooo right on Ben, totally agree.
Posted by: Richard | Feb 04, 2008 at 23:00
Absolutely right. Terrible idea. You cannot discount intellectual property, because like most things you get what you pay for.
Posted by: Kevin Amter | Jan 13, 2009 at 22:05