One of the most hilarious memes on the internet is probably the client brief vs client budget meme. It perfectly portrays the trouble many marketing and PR executives and even creatives face when it comes to bridging the gap between a client’s pocket and their expectations. As the industry gets more competitive, professionals are faced with the challenge of balancing profit and customer satisfaction, without losing clients to competitors who promise to do “better and cheaper”.
One major reason why this problem even comes up in the first place is poor communication. Research shows that Ineffective communications are the primary contributors to project failure one-third of the time and have a negative impact on project success more than half the time.
As a creative professional, – asides all the other relevant questions that need to be answered, it’s important to always ask, “what’s your budget?” Even if it’s only a rough guide, a budget estimate will give you an idea of the kind of solution you can offer and realistically provide.
Secondly, if a client doesn’t have unrealistic expectations, don’t help create them. There’s always a temptation to exaggerate when trying to present yourself in the best possible light. However, resist the urge to go overboard. Infact a less-fancy idea leaves you more chances to wow them!
In the end, we can’t expect client expectations to change by themselves. However, what we can do is to stick to the script from the onset – even before the proposal process. This way we address the misalignment of brief vs budget.