Here are the answers to Frequently Asked Questions about fees, how to work with us, our process and more. If your question hasn’t been answered here contact us. We’ll be happy to clarify any mystery within our knowledge and powers. Things to Know:
1) How Do We Do Business Together?
We know that your marketing budget is there to generate results, not win awards. At the start of every project, we’ll meet with you to discuss your issues, plans and strategic priorities. We will tell you exactly what we propose will work for your goals and what we can do to help. We provide all of the tools, technology and marketing expertise to develop a truly integrated program that makes efficient use of your marketing budget, usually for a fixed monthly fee.
Initial Client Meeting. We’ll meet with you to generate a more in-depth understanding of your company’s marketing strategy and the issues of primary concern at the time. We want to hear you clearly describe what the issue is. During this meeting, we will ask a lot of questions. We use our insight tools and years of experience to gain a quick understanding of the issues involved and the time and effort that will be required to resolve the issues.
Project Estimates. Based on previous experience with other projects, we estimate how many hours are required for your project and provide you with a ballpark estimate of a budget for the project. If your company has budgetary constraints, we’ll discuss them at this time. We view the initial meeting as a normal part of our client initiation efforts and, therefore, we do not charge a fee. Please note, if you make changes to your original specifications, you will be invoiced for the additional time.
People often ask us at how we bill for our services. Understandable question – the answer depends on the client’s needs. As with most marketing and creative service firms, we use three common billing methods:
- an hourly rate, for “quick fixes” to existing projects
- a per project fee schedule for customers who require only a few projects every few months
- a retainer-based plan for clients who “outsource” and consider us their external marketing and communications department
What is a retainer?
A retainer-based arrangement involves the hiring of an outside source to perform certain responsibilities or activities for a specified fee. Activities and initiatives are pre-established between the client and the outsourced company, and are detailed in a proposal or “statement of work” document.
When retainers work best
Retainers are most appropriate for companies that approach their marketing goals with a “multi-channel” or integrated approach.
2) Will You Provide Us with a Written Proposal?
Yes. Following our FREE initial consultation, we’ll deliver a proposal that includes our understanding of the project, a fee quotation and a clear project timeline designed to give you a great return on your marketing dollars. We view the proposal as our opportunity to present our assessment of the company’s market strategy issues based on the discussions held at our initial meeting. We view it as a starting point in designing a market strategy project that brings both parties into agreement regarding the issues to be resolved, the means for arriving at answers and developing a budget for the undertaking. Contact us for your free consultation.
3) How will I know how many hours were spent on my project?
We keep track of all time spent on each project. Each invoice shows a breakdown of time spent on your behalf, and how this compares to the amount we stated originally.
4) How Do You Plan Your Projects?
We’ll help plan your marketing from initial concept to managing your entire project. We have a track record of success in helping companies find new customers by rolling our targeted and integrated marketing campaigns. Without the communication overheads of a large team, we are able to spend more of our time on delivering effective marketing strategies than on meetings and writing reports.
Our expertise across the marketing disciplines of B2B is underpinned by our common agency process, designed to get the best results from every project we do, every time.
We have an agile framework of 5 clear steps that we follow for every project, each with defined inputs and outputs. Within these 5 steps, we perform activities as necessary to meet the project objectives. These are defined up-front during Initiation, and with milestones pinned to a schedule, so that we have both aligned expectations and are clear on objectives, budget, deliverables and timeline.
This covers the brief and initiation of the project, detailing the approach and process, the objectives, deliverables, success criteria, timeline and budget.
This critical phase covers research and understanding of the buyer, the business, the competiors. We utilize a range of tools and workshops to extract the insights.
Creative: developing the big idea.
Full production and delivery. Launch!
Post-launch measurement, refinement, execution of ongoing programmes
5) How Can You Help Us?
Our clients look to us to create big ideas and deliver outstanding results; from strategic planning, to creating winning proposals and sales presentations, to writing their latest annual report, improving their online presence and building media profile. We’ll help your customers to see you as a trusted source and be more receptive to your messages or offerings.
6) How Do You Communicate with Us?
Our open line of communications will keep you informed about the progress of your project and ensure your expectations are always met.
7) Do You Have a Client Feedback Process?
Yes. We want to make your experience with us as pleasurable and productive as possible. To do this, we work hard to tailor our project programs to fit the needs of our clients. Our goal is 100% customer satisfaction.
Normally, we provide our clients with bi-weekly/monthly feedback on their project status and findings. This regular communication allows us to make any necessary changes to the project and helps to ensure that there are no surprises at the end of the project. When the work is completed, we’ll set up a time to present our final recommendations. We pride ourselves on delivering actionable answers that are tailored to meet the needs of our clients.
8) Are you flexible about the scale of the project?
We’ll work on a scale that is comfortable to you. First, we will implement the changes that will have the highest impact. Our work depends on the nature and timeline of each project, but we always explain in detail our approach and process before any project kicks off, and make sure your expectations are well-managed throughout the project cycle. You’ll also receive our advice on how a solution may grow in the future. We thrive on collaborating with our clients and look forward to working closely with you to create great value.
9) How do we know that we will receive value for dollars spent?
Marketing should be an investment, not a cost. We’re not satisfied until our clients obtain exactly the results they envisioned in the planning phase. We’ll communicate with you and your team throughout your campaign to review your strategies and tactics. All our Solutions combine to achieve our number one goal – provide a return on investment for our clients. We love our clients and strive to make marketing fun for them. We’re only happy when everything is working perfectly. Let us show you what we can do for you!
9) Is there a contract?
Yes, there is a contract with every project we take on. The contract sets out each party’s expectations and obligations in written form, which is vital for the success of a project. In addition to the base agreement containing the terms, it comes with a Statement of Work (SOW) describing the following:
– Project background – Project scope – Project deliverables – Time and cost estimate (with a project plan that describes our process) – Price and payment terms – Definition of acceptance
We take the time to walk through every clause with you prior to signing, and make sure that we all commit to it with full understanding. No project will be started without a signed acceptance of a contract. If the scope or nature of a project changes to such an extent that the original contract no longer applies, a new contract may be provided.
10) Is there a Non-Disclosure agreement?
We operate the strictest terms of confidentiality from the moment a request is lodged and will always sign confidentiality agreements if that helps provide additional reassurance to our clients. To be absolutely certain you might like to speak to your lawyers and draw up a Non-Disclosure (NDA) prior to revealing any confidential information. This is something we do all the time, and we can also provide a template.
11) How much do you cost?
We can provide services any way you like — by the hour, by the project, or by a monthly retainer.
When billing by a project, we charge an hourly rate for services. There are different rates for different types of services, so that you are not billed as much, say for marketing support as you would be for strategic planning.
When projects are priced on a per cost basis, you will receive a cost estimate and a proposal.
Clients who opt for retainer billing are able to purchase marketing services in bulk. With a retainer agreement, our services are packaged under one price that does not fluctuate month to month. Because it is billed as a package, the hourly rate is much lower than normal hourly billing.
You retain us, typically for 4-6 days a month, giving you the security of having consultancy available when you need it – for a set monthly investment. The added benefit of this arrangement is that we maintain a watching brief on your business, tracking your competitors and other market developments.
We are very flexible, can scale up quickly and can usually conform to your time requirements if we have enough notice. We will meet your deadline once we agree on one. We will ensure that billing transparency is maintained so you see precisely what you are getting at every stage of the relationship.
Our company is GST registered with net 30-day payment terms. A copy of our standard agreement is available on request. Our contract specifies the payment terms and conditions. Most orders will only take effect upon receipt of a duly signed contract. We require a 50% non-refundable deposit to start working. The remaining 50% will be due upon project completion or in milestones, if the project is big.
We accept PayPal payments (which also includes the option to pay by credit card for non-members) and bank wire transfer. We may offer different payment terms for projects requiring more than 3 months to complete, and occasionally request full payment upon order confirmation for small or rush projects. If you have any alternative payment terms in mind, just let us know early in the proposal stage and we would be happy to discuss.
12) How can I reduce project costs?
There are a number of ways that you can help control project costs.
Planning is the best way to reduce costs. During our FREE initial meeting, we will discuss what you want to accomplish so that the work we do reflects your objective and expectations.
13) How much do you charge for a one-off project?
When sufficient information is provided, we will prepare a written contract containing project plan, scope, costs, and terms and conditions. When sufficient detailed information is not provided, pricing may be based on our hourly rate.
14) I want to hire Cindy Ferrie Consulting. How do I start?
Basically, we just need to know what you need. At the start of every project, we’ll meet with you to discuss your issues, plans and strategic priorities. We will tell you exactly what we propose will work for your goals and what we can do to help. Contact us for a free consultation.
Or, please use the form on our contact page to share your requirements and specifications with us. Tell us what you need. As soon as we have received your information, we will review it and respond to you shortly. Please be as detailed as possible.
We are looking forward to hearing from you!
What if I Still have More Questions? Do you have a question that isn’t on this page? Contact us and ask away! Our initial meeting is FREE. We’d love to help out however we can!