Making money out of cheap tools?

I had a great lunch with Adrian Trenholm today and got home to read his lastest post about two agencies which are showing good signs of switching on to conversational marketing. (JWT are saying some good things about customers being in charge and Carat are offering clients blog starter kits).

Adrian examines reactions to this in partcular Redmonk. Adrian says

Mark’s advice: forget the “blog starter kit,” just get a TypePad subscription. Redmonk offers “quick and dirty consultation on how RSS can put [conversational] strategy on steroids.”

There, I think, is the problem for the big agencies: conversational marketing tools are light and cheap, they are “quick and dirty.”

The challenge for JWT and Carat et al is going to be making sufficient money out of an approach to marketing which does not, at first sight, fit the big agency mould. Do the big agencies have to rely on the “no-one ever got fired for buying IBM” factor? And will their clients pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for what I created in five minutes with WordPress?

Good question. I don’t think there’s an either/or here. I don’t know how JWT or Carat are charging clients; perhaps they’ll be tempted to try to make these simple technologies sound complicated to make the service worth more.

On the other hand, I know a lot of bloggers in what may be a self-imposed poverty trap. Because they think because this stuff is easy (for them) they shouldn’t charge much for their advice – and nor should anyone else. I wouldn’t agree. The point is blogging is potentially hugely valuable to corporates and if they’re willing to pay someone to make it easy for them, then good luck to whoever is smart enough to get the gig. I hope sometimes it will be me.


2 thoughts on “Making money out of cheap tools?

  1. Johnnie Moore

    How much is the tool to create a press release? How much are the tools to write a novel? A good ad agency could offer a lot to a clients looking to start conversations but the tools are the least of it.


    Patrick: Good comment, I agree!


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