BY MATTHEW BIRCHARD

Clients sometimes don’t want to disclose their budget to their agency, but knowing this parameter of a project is vital to its success.

One of the first questions I always ask a client when we’re discussing a new project is: “What’s the budget for this?”  This isn’t asked just so I can estimate to that full amount.  In truth, knowing the budget for a project helps me to understand the importance of the project in my client’s mind.

Clients have an obligation to be fiscally responsible, and in watching the bottom line some are afraid to disclosure their true budget for a project.  I’ve had clients tell me that they’d “like to see what we come up with”, which is a frustrating response and one that rarely does either of us any good.  My guess is that clients feel if they tell me they have $10,000 to spend on a project, I will tell them it will cost every penny of that to complete it. But what they’re hoping for is if they don’t give me a budget, I’ll come in low.  This may not be the case as the agency, without knowledge of a budget, may place greater importance on the project than the client.  Perhaps what we come up with is a $20,000 project because the parameters warrant something more grand.

If the agency over estimates a project, the client has to reconcile the fact that they have been presented with a concept they’ve fallen in love with but it’s out of their budget and they need to settle for less or find additional funds for it.  Disappointment and “robbing Peter to pay Paul” would be avoided altogether if they would disclose the budget to their agency up front.  The converse is true as well.  If it really should have $10,000 worth of effort but only receives half that, will the project reach its full potential?

If you have a true partnership with your full service marketing agency, the agency will have your interests in mind and you should be able to trust them to properly utilize your available budget.

We seek to give our clients the very best creative result that their budget allows.  Sharing the budget amount up front is as critical a part of the input process as any other step.