When Price Kills Quality: The Deadly Truth About Business And Creativity

This article is for all the agencies, marketers, designers, artists, writers, and clients in the industry.


As the old saying goes, “we get what we paid for.” But, can it also be applied in the advertising and marketing industry? If that’s the case, how would you rate it? How would you know if the quality of the service that you will get is actually the equivalent of what you paid for? Who sets the standard?

We are in the business of creativity and strategy, which means that: we are acknowledged based on the quality of work that we deliver; we are known for the types of execution that we produce; and we get new businesses based on how we perform. These aspects has always been the battle cry of our industry. It’s also one of the reasons why award winning bodies were formed – to acknowledge the quality of the work that we do.


In the early days, advertising and marketing agencies always want to prove themselves to the clients. They are always one step ahead of what the client wants; they want to impress the client in any possible way. Simply because they know that if this client will be satisfied with their work, there is a high chance that they can get more recommendations which means more business and more income. Yes, there was already a call on the rate and charges, but quality was the priority back then.


As an advertising professional, they used to have a standard work execution that doesn’t change based on what the client paid for. If the client can’t afford them, they are willing to let go. Back then, they have too much value and pride with their work.


Sadly though, in the current situation, many marketers, designers, artists, writers, and agencies are willing to deliver based on how much the client can afford. What does that mean? Basically, advertising and marketing professionals can adjust their quality of work based on what the client can afford. If the budget is low, they will produce substandard results. If the budget is high, they will move mountains just to keep you satisfied. Money has overpowered creativity.



But is this good for your business? Well, technically, yes. If you are flexible based on the client’s needs, it means that you will get more business and more revenue. But is it good for your reputation and the image of your company? Uhm, probably not.


As a professional, you would want to carry a reputation of someone who does good work for anyone and anybody. You want to make sure that you build a consistent image that when someone mentions your name (or your company’s), they will remember your for doing a stellar job. It’s like establishing your name, your worth, and your value in the industry. Otherwise, you’ll be just another machinery that produces in quantity but without so much quality.


Honestly, it’s not wrong. Some agencies even have strategies where they divide the team for quality and quantity workers, because in that way, there will be a balance of business and creativity. But if you will come to think of it, people will only remember whatever is remarkable. And in human nature, ‘remarkable’ only means something awesomely good and something terribly bad. There are no grey areas. In addition to that, this industry judge you based on what you have recently produce. As another old saying goes, “you are only as good as your last work”. What if your last work was a low-quality project that is so crappy you wouldn’t even want to get credited for it? Will you be satisfied?

Cost and worth are two different things. Understandably, the industry is a business; there’s no doubt with that. Money or prices shouldn’t be the basis for the quality of our work. It shouldn’t drive this industry like it does the others. As a marketer, a designer, an artist, a writer, and a client, always remember that we should go for value.


Adjusting the quality of your work based on the budget is not really being flexible; it’s sacrificing your talent, skills, and reputation for a little more money. It’s like willingly handing the knife to the killer and letting them stab you to death. Have some pride when it comes to the value of your work. If they can’t afford you, don’t accept the project. Never settle for anything less than what you deserve. Always aim to do something worthy than just being profitable. We should know the value of our work, the value of our execution, and the value that we will leave to the future generations.