What’s the Cost of Digital Marketing: Marketing Agency Vs Freelancer

At some point, most businesses engage external digital marketing expertise to provide inbound marketing, SEO, PPC, and social media services. In Dubai, that expertise comes in the form of either an agency or freelance talent. In a tough B2C and B2B environment, budgets are tight, and largess limited, so how can prospective clients come to grips with the cost of digital marketing in Dubai? Why Hiring A Digital Marketing Agency In Dubai Is Cheaper Than You Think! Up until now, establishing what the reasonable costs are for hiring a digital marketing agency in Dubai have been murky and anything but transparent. Relying on gut instinct won’t get you very far and public data on rates and fee for services remains elusive.If you are considering tapping into external digital marketing expertise, gaining a clear line of sight on the average costs being asked for monthly retainers and hourly rates for digital marketing in Dubai can be challenging and time consuming to compile. Digital Marketing Pricing Survey Insights A recent survey by Credo, a company that matches prospective clients with marketing agencies or consultants released the results of its latest survey of digital marketing pricing. The survey was distributed to 184 respondents across 19 countries and produced some interesting insights on the present trends for the cost of digital marketing. Freelance consultants consistently price based on hourly or monthly base rates and project fees. Worldwide digital consultant rates continue to be based on years of experience. Consultants with 1-3 years of experience, charge around $88, while those with 10+ years of experience charge an average of $189.Agency pricing appears all over the map. Agencies with 2 to 5 employees and 6 to 10 employees actually charged more on average than agencies with 11 to 20 employees according to the survey SEO agencies appear unsure about pricing their services with pricing being all over the shop. The survey showed an hourly range of $145 to about $181 Agencies and consultants with a strong strategy focus charge higher rates compared to those with a broader portfolio of services Monthly retainers, project fees, and hourly rates are all higher for strategy related servicesImplications For ClientsWith so much variation in rate schedules and competition from freelance consultants, the cost of hiring a digital marketing agency in Dubai may be cheaper than you may expect.Assess precisely what digital marketing services you are after, overlay that with a monthly service fee from a pool of prospective agencies, and use that as the starting point in your negotiations. Most agencies are very clear about their cost base and what utilization rates they are targeting and so consequently, understand just how far they can comfortably negotiate. Agency Versus Freelancer As you would expect, there are some key differences in pricing between freelancers and agencies:Freelancers are mostly servicing clients through a blend of hourly rates and project based fees.Agency preference for monthly-retainer contracts is not surprising, after all, they usually have more overhead to coverThe average digital marketing industry monthly retainer contract starts at $1,000 and ranges up to $5,000.The larger the agency, generally, the more services they offer under one umbrella. If you are looking for a blend of digital marketing services, hiring an agency will reduce the amount of coordination you need to do as a client. The larger the agency, the more customized solutions it usually provides, and hence, the higher the average price point per customer required to cover that specialized expertise and talent. The Best Clients Often, small and medium-sized businesses feel they are at a disadvantage in negotiating with an agency due to their lack of scale compared to larger clients. However, frequently, small, and medium-sized businesses are the best clients from an agency perspective.The reality is, digital advertising as an industry in Dubai, is still a comparatively immature market, and the majority of agencies lack the corporate expertise and infrastructure to service enterprise scaled customers.Hence small to medium businesses provide an agency with reliable bread and butter revenue streams without the complexity and high servicing costs that come with large multinational clients. So, if you are a small or medium-sized business, don’t be embarrassed to negotiate with an agency. They need clients like you, another reason why the cost of hiring a digital marketing agency in Dubai may be lower than you may expect! High Demand Agency Services Despite the profusion of digital marketing services, SEO and PPC services remain most agencies primary sources of revenue. The top five services sought by clients are: SEO PPC management Social media Content marketing Analytics and UXAnalytics and user experience design (UX) are surging in popularity as their importance to attracting prospects and retaining customers becomes clear. This recognition is reflected in their growing footprint within the portfolio of digital marketing services clients are seeking from their agencies.While this is good news for the industry as a whole, as it indicates a more disciplined and structured approach to digital advertising in the Middle East. It also points to a continued lack of recognition by business owners and marketers of the need to put in place adequate analytic capability in-house.Similarly, ensuring an engaging user experience from the launch of a digital marketing initiative would go a long way towards supporting the consumer acceptance of online marketing particularly as regional Internet users have become more experienced and have higher expectations of the online UX.Identify growth opportunities for your business today! Our free 30-minute marketing assessment can help save you money and drive your business forward. Subscribe Now For A Free 30-Minute Marketing Assessment!Conclusion If you are in the process of hiring a marketing agency, the news is good. The cost of hiring a digital marketing agency in Dubai may be lower than you anticipate and there are different pricing structures and models available.Many agencies use a combination of pricing models such as monthly retainer for standard services, milestone pricing for projects they do frequently, or hourly pricing for new or more complex work. Discuss which pricing model works best for you with your prospective agency and you may be in for a delightful surprise!

Brand Positioning – Need It? Have It? How to Go About It?

All the marketing books are telling you that it is important to differentiate your brand. But it is not always clear how to do it in a way that is meaningful for your business and leads to brand sales.POSITIONING. DO I REALLY NEED IT?Positioning is all about differentiating your brand in the mind of the consumer. Positioning is creating the perceptions you want your target consumer to associate with your brand. Having a brand positioning is not an end in itself. It is just the beginning of the journey. It is the foundation on which your brand strategy, innovation, communication and brand plans and tactics are built. (The end of the journey should always be brand sales & brand growth! )POSITIONING. DO I REALLY HAVE IT?One of the very first questions I ask when I work with a brand team is about their brand positioning. It is sad to see how many use the terminology without actually understanding it clearly and, as a result, being unable to use it to drive brand growth. Examples such as “my brand positioning is premium” or “my products are made with natural ingredients” will hardly give the brand team a clear direction on what the next innovation is or how the next communication campaign will appear. If your positioning is just about fancy words and is not ACTIONABLE, your brand most surely is losing money, if not now, in the long-term. You need a clear brand positioning not because the books say so, but because you want brand growth.POSITIONING. HOW TO GO ABOUT IT?If you prefer to build your brand positioning on your own, you can use as guidance the 4 steps in positioning a brand as described by Jack Trout, the father of positioning:
1) Study your competitors and identify the attributes and / or benefits they own in the mind of the consumer
2) Assess your strengths and weaknesses (product, services, packaging, communication, distribution, customer help etc) and look for that differentiating idea.
3) Think long term: can you support your differentiating idea with facts?
4) Communicate the differentiating idea to your target consumers.From my experience with brands, a positioning that is actionable should consider as a minimum 4 elements:1. Brand’s target: clearly you want to differentiate your brand in the minds of consumers. For that to happen you have to know WHO your consumers are.Segment your market and chose your target. You can do that by using either sophisticated segmentation research or common sense. Chose the segment you want to target and try to find out as many things about them as possible (age, gender, where they live, how they live their life, what they like to eat, see, do, if they have any preferences, what their dislikes are etc). Knowing your consumers better will help you find the space in their minds and hearts that is relevant to them.2. Competitors: your brand does not exist in a silo. Consumers evaluate all the available brands and decide which one addresses their needs and shares the same values. You have to be very clear about who are your direct or indirect competitors and how consumers perceived them.Make sure you talk about consumers’ perceptions, not yours. You can quickly distinguish between what YOU believe consumers perceive and what consumers actually perceive by asking this question: “Where do I have this information from” – if it is from research, industry knowledge, consumers blogs or FACEBOOK, you know for sure that this is what the consumers think.3. Consumers’ need: as a marketer you should be able to know what needs your consumers have.Obviously, you want to address with your brand those needs that are stronger. Even if your brand has “state-of-the-art” features and benefits, if there is no need for them or consumers are indifferent to them, it might be a lottery for your brand to win in the marketplace.Here are a few of the most common needs that brands address: to be loved, to achieve something, to have fun, to be free, to stay clean, to have friends, to be accepted, to get attention, to win, to be healthy, to be beautiful. What about your brand? What kind of needs does it address?4. Brand’s benefits: this is the trickiest part of the positioning exercise. Most marketers are so attached to their brand or know it so well, that it is difficult to stay objective. Even more, valuable features are sometimes taken for granted. When you build your list of benefits, 2 pieces of advice here:- Look outside your category. For example, if you are a gifting chocolate brand, look at cosmetics or fashion. See what other brand benefits are appreciated by your target consumers and see if you have those to offer.
- Stick to your core expertise – do not force onto the list benefits that your brand does not have, just because the consumers want them. Your company must have the capabilities to support delivering these benefits over the long-term. For example, if your product is not made with natural ingredients and therefore doesn’t give the consumers a natural, wholesome experience, do not claim it just because the trend is towards natural. There are many other trends you can tap into. Stay true to yourself and to your brand. Consumers will appreciate it.You can spend one day or a whole month to define your brand positioning – depending on how thorough you want to be. In both cases, the output should be a positioning statement. This is the positioning statement template I use when I work with my clients:For (target consumer) who want (the need), (name of brand) is (the category or frame of reference) that delivers (benefits) because only (brand name) is (reasons to believe).I hope it will help you define your brand’s positioning, clarify it or refine it.Do you have a particular positioning challenge? Let me know about it!

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