Rush Rates: There are no Marketing Emergencies
I charge a rush rate under certain circumstances because I have to push other work (designing, marketing, advertising, billing, accounting, networking, client relations, personal projects...) aside to handle rush work. It causes me undue stress, causes me to juggle my commitments, which has health and social implications, and I'm afraid you have to pay for those in terms of money, since you can't give me anything else to compensate for it. Time is my one finite commodity. Stress shortens lives.
I will say, and continue to say, there are no marketing emergencies.
Marketing is a long game plan. Marketing is the act of standing out in a crowd. If you miss one crowd, I guarantee there will be another.
Another way of putting this: if you always take on unplanned marketing opportunities, then you don't really have a marketing plan — do you? And there's a word for marketing all willy-nilly without a plan. It's called spaghetti marketing. The "art" of chaotic marketing and hoping something will "stick."
When you're dealing with a consultant, and you need something done in faster than the normal turn-around time, if you need to inconvenience the consultant or their customers, put other business and promises at risk, it costs more. It should. You have no other way to compensate a consultant for the inconvenience of your lack of planning.
Your lack of planning is not my emergency
If you live less of your life in a state of panic, the quality of your life goes up. It's healthier.
When a sudden opportunity comes up, you can say no. You can go to an event as an attendee, scope out what it looks like, look at the competition, come up with a plan for next month or next year. Brainstorm. Set some milestones for preparations to take advantage of it next year.
A "once in a lifetime opportunity" with a short deadline — is probably snake oil and you shouldn't reach for your wallet. This is a big sales gimmick/tactic. And it's usually a bald-faced lie.
When I discover I haven't planned out far enough in advance, I change my deadline. This is the power I have over my business. Can't change the deadline? Then I change my plan. What can be cut from my expectations? What can I do differently? Where can I afford to cut corners from what I wanted to what is reasonable?
You have a deadline? Back into it. A new sudden opportunity came up? You chose to say yes, but that doesn't make it an emergency. You set a date and announced it already? That doesn't make it my problem, dates can be changed, and you can learn to become a better planner.
The marketing long game
Let's say you have a product that sells well during the winter holiday season. You know this, yes? You should be backing into it from the summer. Thinking ahead. Put yourself on a monthly marketing schedule. If you do this, you'll start hitting publication deadlines, and you'll live a longer, healthier, more comfortable life with less stress.
Example: You know you're selling the Make Believe Mommy Doll as a Christmas present idea for kids. So you need to be in the publications starting in October at the latest. The best local paper has a 2-month lead time from the first of the month of the publication — all the other places you plan to advertise come after that. So August 1st is your submission deadline. But you don't want to wait until the last minute, and you don't want to go to press with errors in your ads. So you meet with your marketing team in May, come up with the ad copy, it goes to your designer in June and you have the design hammered out by June 15th, now it goes to be proofread carefully, and any changes are submitted back to the designer. In the meantime, you work on the emails to go with the campaign, you have your social media person planning out ads and posts for buzz, and the only thing everyone is waiting on is the final artwork. The artwork is finalized by end of June, everyone gets the images they need that match the campaign ideas and you have an entire campaign based around the Make Believe Mommy, you send the art to the publications along with the dates you desire for publication, schedule social media posts in advance, schedule the emails to go out on your email list, etc. Your designer then creates a flyer and banners because you're tabling at a Holiday showcase in late October, the banners and print jobs are ordered and ready well before the deadline, and you've already paid your tabling fee. Done. Your holiday campaign is prepared, scheduled and there's no deadline or panic looming. So now your team moves in on the next campaign: promoting Sam Fraf — the String Around My Finger Resolution Action Figure — for the New Year. It's a smaller campaign and you'll have everything ready to go by August 1st.
You, too, can have a plan
So why not discuss your future marketing plans with your designer? It's well worth spending a little money now in a consultation to come up with a marketing schedule than to spend that money in rush fees later in a last-minute panic when you realize that your deadlines are looming. On the other end, your print orders, ads in publications, your trade show materials, your speaking engagements, your book signings, your customers, your email newsletters, your social media promotions — everything will go much more smoothly once you have a marketing calendar and you stick with it.
With your marketing calendar on-hand, when a new opportunity presents itself you can look over your current commitments and make an educated decision as to whether or not you can afford — in time, money and stress — this oh-so-important short-deadline opportunity.
If you're the type of person that thrives on panic, we're not a good fit, and you can look for someone who loves last-minute deadline clients. I am not everyone's best fit for designer.
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