What is Your Service Mix?
We're gonna talk about service mix. This is sort of a, maybe it's a business school term, service mix. It just means what are you gonna do. So I'll just show you what we do. The point of showing this, it's not about the laundry lists, necessarily, but, ideally, you've figured out a service mix that has synergies among them, and, again, I know synergies is a business school term and all that, and it really just means, like, if someone's gonna hire us for design and development, right, we're gonna build their web or mobile application. Like, "Oh, well, it turns out we don't have it branded anyway." "Well, we offer, by the way, we offer that service as well, so you can hire us to do that. Oh, and you need video for the website, so, yes, we do that, and we do it very wonderfully, and we'll do the copywriting, industrial design, not necessarily relevant in this context, and then when the thing is built, guess what? We have the full suite of social media marketing services so that we can get...
the world to know that this exists, this new thing that we've created, and, by the way, we don't just live online and in social, we live in the physical world, so guess what, we do big, stunty, experiential things. So, if you wanna hire us to do that splashy launch, we can do that. And, mind you, if you want something really special, we'll do some hardware, Internet of Things work, or otherwise." So, our services are all sort of wrapped up in themselves. It's rarer now that someone hires us just for one thing. And, you can look at this, you can look at your own list of services, and go, what happens if someone comes to me and says, "I just want a brand ambassador program."? Is that good or bad? For us, if someone said, "I just want a brand ambassador program", I would tell them, "No." Yeah. I'm, gonna, what, staff people at 35 bucks an hour to pass out flyers? Do I really care about that? Right? What I care about is a big national or international campaign. And, so that piece has gotta be a tiny, it's gotta be a small piece of the puzzle. So, if someone can hire you for something that individually you don't really wanta do, you need to know that. 'Cause someone might, they might go, "I just want you guys to write a script." Is that cool for you, Lucky, or not?
See, it's good to know.
Yeah. You need to know, 'cause that might happen, or someone might make that ask. So, you gotta think about that service mix, and, ideally, they're all harmonized together. So, I think, Internet audience, if you've got questions about service mix, be thinking about it now and send 'em over to Chris. Anyone in the audience wanta ask a question about service mix or how to figure this out of what to offer, or if it changes over time, how to change it, all that stuff. Go ahead.
I guess my question is, what about, how do you differentiate between somebody who comes to you wanting a brand ambassador program but really they want something much more than that? And, that's just, like their way to kind of develop the relationship?
It happens all the time. And, sometimes we end up going down a path where we work together on something bigger; and sometimes we go down a path of I don't actually want to get to know you this way. So, I won't use the brand's name, it's a very well-known fast food brand. They're broken out by franchise territories; and, so, they're sorta D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, territory, reached out and said, "Hey, we need, actually said, we need brand ambassador programs." Maybe that's why I (audience laughing) pointed out that one? And, they said, "Yeah, we already do this brand ambassador program; we hit up all the college campuses. We give, like coupons for free fries, or soda, or whatever. And, we're not really fully happy with the people we're working with. We'd love to talk to you. We saw your website. Like, you guys are so creative and cool. And, we'd love to just start that way." I said, "Okay, let's talk about the deal size." And, I said, "Well, how much money are you spending on a brand ambassador program?" They said, "Oh, you know, we spent like 22 grand a year." And, I just said, "Listen, I'll just be very honest. Our projects typically start at about a quarter of a million dollars, and, we're put to best use if we're working on like half to a million dollar plus things." And, so I'm just very open and honest. And, like, "Wow, yeah, that's interesting, I mean, our whole marketing budget for the year is like 300 grand." I was, like, "You should hire us to do all of your marketing." (laughing) Right? They didn't. But, that's my path to, like to get that. And, there's no way I could get that without being transparent about what's actually best for us, and how do people usually hire us, and what's best for the client. It's not best for them to hire us to do a brand ambassador program. It's best for us to look at how do they do marketing, what is the core creative idea that we're gonna bring out into the world using all sorts of tactics, including a brand ambassador program. So, I'm much happier to not get that project than I am to get it. Right? And, so, I'm willing to take a stab at the 300K and say no to the 22. 'Cause it's probably, I don't know, three out of, maybe one out of every four times if I do that, we'll get the work. But, that's 300 or 500 thousand dollars rather than taking 20, 20, 20. Anything else? We have a question online about this?
Yeah. There's a question here. I'm curious to know, like when you first got started, when it was just you. Obviously, you didn't start with this many services. I know you said, like, "Oh, people ask for just one thing." Maybe that's not worth your time. But, do you feel like there is a minimal number? Like, okay, I'm gonna start having four services, ten services, is there a number that people should shoot for when they're first building out this plan?
I think there are two camps. And, both camps are possibly right. So, it sorta depends on who you are, depends on where you are, depends on your customer segmentation, et cetera. One camp will say, "Do one thing great." And, I think that's right. Like, I think you could be the world's best virtual reality production company. I think Vrse is probably that one right now, that Chris Milk started. And they're killing, killing, killing, killing, killing, killing, killing. That's all they do. They don't have to do anything else. And, that's great, especially if you're a celebrity like Chris is, to get that kind of work. And, then the other camp, which is the camp that I have, always had been in was I wanta project the fact that we can do a dramatic diversity of services because I don't know which of these things is going to be the solution to someone's problem; and I want to make sure I don't starve and die. (laughing) So, if I bump into that person that says, "I don't need any of that extra stuff, what I really, really need is, like a data visualization project, and infographic work.", I could just say, "Yes." And we built the specialization around data visualization and all that early on. And, we could do those projects profitably. So, if someone had said, "We just want you to do data viz." I would say, "Yes." And, that was fine. I feel, like, you know, service mix diversification is, for me, it's a de-risking of the business. And, I get really concerned about people who say, "Oh, I'm starting an agency, and I've two or three partners, and we're only gonna do mobile apps. Okay, but what about all the other times when no one you bump into for months and months and months needs mobile apps? What are you gonna do? And, it's okay to be them, it's okay to be the world's best studio of mobile application development. Only do that. But, in my context, my decision is, that's too risky for me. But, for some other people, that's what they do. And, that's fine. So, there's two camps, and I think both camps are right. It's good to think of it that way.
Okay. We're just clarifying one question here. For people who are getting started, they look at this, and it may seem overwhelming to have that many of those things. I mean, not that you wanta fake anything or be misleading; but is it okay to sometimes maybe not even know specifically how you're gonna do that yet until a clear request is made.
Okay, I'm going to be so open and honest, and transparent-
Be open and honest, please.
to the streaming Internet
(mumbles) In the first year, I probably had something very similar to this. I could probably look up the deck. And, many of the things I had never done before. But, because I viewed the world as abundant; and I could find really talented people to work with me, if someone said, "Peter, we want you to build the website. But, we also want you to do some social application development in Facebook, and we want you to do influencer identification outreach, and, at the end of it, could you do some, like buzz stuff and guerilla marketing for us." I would go, "Great, pay me." "What's the size of this deal?" I'd write the proposal. While I'm writing the proposal, I'm reaching out to 20 people or whatever it is, saying, "I might have this thing, it's probably about 200,000 dollars. I can probably give you, like 20 for your piece and 30 for this piece." And, then, when they sign the thing, I've gotten my, I assemble the Vultron. For those of you who grew up in the 80s, you know what that means. Put the whole thing together, and now we can go. And, so, that is, as you might have imagined, in this session, you'd at least hear this phrase once, that was definitely faking it until you make it. And, I could tell a whole story; I could tell plenty of stories about that. Thankfully, I don't really have to fake it as much anymore. We fake it a little bit. I mean, when we started doing VR work, we hadn't done any yet. But, we had to say to our clients, of course, we know how to do VR work, we're gonna bring this rig, this camera, we gonna do this, and this, and this. Thankfully, they didn't ask, "Have you done this before?" If they asked me that, so, that's great, but have you done this before, you know what my stock answer response is? I just love this response. I go, "Everything that we've done, we've never done before." I love it 'cause it's confusing (laughing), and it's, like (laughing), "I think, I know what you said, but I think what you're saying is is it doesn't matter. I guess it doesn't matter. Okay. Fine. Let's do the thing." It works.