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Marketing Plan with Quote

Inventors, Product Marketers: View Marketing Plan Pricing…

By Jeffrey Dobkin

Are you marketing a new product?

And now you’re stuck – second guessing if you are doing the right things… in the right order.

Need help?  Want real, useful answers to a few tough marketing questions – and some costs?

Do you need a marketing plan?  A real marketing plan that shows you what actions you need to take right now. And later. And in what order?

Wait… What is a marketing plan anyhow?

And what does it cost?

Here’s your chance to find out in real-life terms. With pricing for marketing services.

We’ve asked Jeffrey Dobkin for a quote.  He’s answered both of these questions.

Here’s an actual quote from master market Jeffrey Dobkin:

“Thanks for the opportunity to quote your marketing requirements. 

I’m happy to answer a few marketing, media and distribution questions.

I’ve included a prices for most of my services, so my billing is very transparent.

It’ll give you an idea of the costs involved in marketing.

Everyone wants to know costs – it’s the number one question I get: what does it cost?

Frankly, I’m not that cheap.  But wait: If you think I’m expensive, wait until you see what a shitty marketing plan costs you.

You know – one that doesn’t work.  Wow.  Now that’s expensive!

My marketing plans and writings are drawn from my heavy marketing experience from a 30 year career serving clients at the top levels of a multiple of  fields.

Over the years I’ve gone into more than 1,000 firms and queried owners, presidents and marketing managers about their marketing – what’s working, what isn’t.

I figured if a particular part of marketing plan is working for 985 of the firms, it’s probably going to work for new my clients as well (and your firm too!).  So I’d write that technique into my new marketing plans.

No one bats 1000%, but if parts of a marketing plan worked for 980 out of 1,000 firms, that’s good enough.  I figure it will probably work for you.

Plans I write are of the highest technical calibre and written specifically to each firm’s budget.  They written to be the most effective for the dollar spend.  They are also very specific to each product, each industry.

Emerging from all this, and writing hundreds of marketing plans, there are some generalities that are effective, too.  See other articles on this site of actual marketing plans.

All the plans I write are realistic.

So if you call me and say “I want to reach a million dollars in sales in 6 months!” and have a $10,000 budget, that’s not realistic.  I’ll let you know that.

But we can talk, and figure out what is realistic.”

Marketing Plan Pricing:  Letters

My entrepreneurial billing rate is $250/hour, and my corporate rate is $450/hour.  But most of my packaged services are priced less.

Letters are a large part of every plan I write.  Letters from me usually cost $850/page.  If you can write a great letter, you can save these fees.

A letter takes me about 8 to 10 hours to write, design and edit — a process that happens over 3 or 4 days.

Writing sales letters costs start at $850/page, which translates to slightly under $100/hour for this kind of project.

Tightly written, deeper researched and more focused letters take more time and subsequently cost more.

Letters are always a part of my marketing plans because they are so focused and effective.  It’s my number one marketing tool.

Knowing where to send them is my second greatest weapon in the marketing war. And a bit more intricate requiring a better depth of knowledge.

Depth of this marketing from me is anywhere from 4 hours to 25 hours (and up!) depending on how many markets, and depths of market penetration you need.

Some markets are easy to address – like the pet industry: 45 publications to the pet industry.  Easy.

Some markets more complex: computers – 500 publications.  Women’s products: 90 primary publications, 80 secondary publications.

If you can write a great letter, go ahead!  You can save some substantial money here.  All the better for you.

Then my marketing focus becomes figuring out where to send it for the greatest response and likeliness of generating sales.

With a properly drafted letter you can reach the President of American Airlines and have your letter sit on his desk.  In marketing, accuracy and market penetration doesn’t get any better than that…

Action items necessary for your initial marketing plan: A comprehensive PR plan.

Press releases and cover letters.

Whether your marketing plan budget is $1,000, $10,000 or $10,000,000 you need a great press release campaign.  It should be part of every marketing plan.

For retail products you need both trade press releases and consumer press releases.

If you’re not sure what a Press Release is and does, or what a press campaign is – please read my articles on Press Releases on this site – or better yet, buy my book, How To Market A Product for Under $500! – it has a dedicated section of almost 100 pages on writing and using press releases.  So I won’t go into it here.  I’ll just say press releases from me take about 3 hours to research, write and edit.  This doesn’t include researching the mailing list.

Trade press releases talk about ‘in-store high-turnover rate’ and your ‘attractive retail packaging.’

Consumer press releases talk about the product features and benefits and why consumers should buy your product.

Each of these series of press releases are sent to different segments, magazines and newspapers of the markets in your plan.

For example, if you are marketing a High-Tech item (because your product goes into a computer), you’ll get a strong additional advantage from a separate press release published to the various High-Tech markets.  With a high-tech oriented press release you can get into some particularly upscale magazines… if you do it right.  There are over 500 different magazines published and sent to people in the computer industry. Each month.  It’s a huge market.

Every press release is sent with a great cover letter, or… or you’re doing it wrong.  Period!

So, you’ll also need cover letters to go with each press release.

Cover letters sent with press releases don’t say “Hey, here’s a press release!”  Don’t be silly. Editors can see that.

Effective cover letters are personalized to each editor.

They contain additional information that we couldn’t fit into the one-page press release.  If written correctly, editors will often pick up additional copy points from a cover letter.

The cover letter also adds credibility to your package – we can say things like, “Thanks for speaking with me on the phone.  Nice talking to you.” even if it wasn’t.  Or “All orders are shipped same-day as received.” which we didn’t have room to say in the press release.  This adds credibility to your firm.  And “Besides the red one we show in the press release photo, our product is available in blue, black, yellow and green.”  A cover letter should be included with every press release.

Sending a Photograph, Sending a Product Sample

You’ll need a great photograph.  No, I mean a G-R-E-A-T photograph!

For the top magazines, if your product is reasonably priced, you should send a product sample along with the press release and cover letter.

A write-up in a top magazine can sell thousands – and thousands – of products.  If you get into just one top-tier magazine it will have paid for this entire campaign, plus… plus! And pay for all the samples you’ve sent.  Plus…

If your product is costly or you don’t want to send it to every editor, include the sample to the top dozen or so magazines you’d like to get into.  For the “B” list of magazines, send the editor a nice note or a post card letting them know they can get a free sample by sending the card back.  It will cut down your initial costs, but still get samples into the right hands of those people who are interested.  Plus – if an editor requests a sample, and your product is anywhere decent, you’ll probably get the free write up a press release placement can bring.  You can start celebrating early…

Press Release Mailing List… Hours spent

For the press release mailing list, we buy the magazine mailing lists from the Oxbridge Communications Media Finder ( – website among other various resources.  The interface is extraordinarily clunky but they have all the magazines and editors names on tap.  I figure it will take me 4 to 12 hours on the short end for research depending on how deep (how many publications) you’d like to go to dig all the markets and magazines out.  Then: plus costs to buy and download the lists online.  So: 4 Hours x $250 = $1,000 to give you a starting point.

Letters to Catalog Houses.

Catalogs are a mainstay in all of my marketing plans.

Does your product fit into a catalog?  I’m pretty sure it does.

You’ll need a letter to go to catalog houses.  Additionally all the top catalogs should receive a product sample with the cover letter.

The lesser catalogs – or if your product is expensive – can get a letter with an offer for us to send them a free sample.

No decent catalog will consider your product without seeing a sample, I’m pretty sure of that.

Finding all the catalogs that may include your product is easy with this directory:  It’s what we use around here.

Of course the hard part is selecting the right catalogs. The physical part of sending the physical letters to all the catalogs that we think you can get in is frankly a pain in the butt.

It’s just that the results of a little extra time spent here can pay off really well. I’m guessing  3 – 9 hours to find catalogs in the printed directory, plus the names and addresses then need to be updated and verified, then typed into a database – a time consuming procedure at best.

If you’re interested I’ll inquire about online costs (none are given on their website) to see how hard it is to work with their new online interface to give you an accurate quote.

Premium and Private label product marketing

Part of the marketing letters you’ll need is a cover letter that goes with a sample for premium and private label use if you want to market to that section of industries.

Plus a letter that offers a sample for premium and private label.  This letter and catalog sell sheet asks who we should send a sample to.

The toughest part is figuring out which catalogs, and to whom to send these letters and samples to.  This usually means phone calls – ugh.  I hope you have someone who can do this – while I’m very good at it, I hate making outbound soliciting phone calls and bill it at my highest corporate billing rate, $450/hr.  It’s still painful, but at least I get paid well for the task.

Other pages necessary for your marketing package: Price list.

Prices, quantity breaks, how many to a box, if a retail display is included, net weight. Also shows delivery times, packing, box dimensions, shipping weight.  Down and dirty – one page black and white, with photo.  This sheet serves you well to show you can and have been able to deliver in quantity.

Catalog sheet / retail brochure.

This sales sheet needs to be 4-color and highly visual.  Do you have a great, I mean a G-R-E-A-T photograph of your product?

A photo of your product in use?  And one of your product in its retail package?

A catalog sheet is one of the first marketing pieces you should create.  It’s a sales tool you will use in every communication – market introduction, PR, pitches to retailers and distributors…

Catalog sheets or product brochures from me take about 8 to 12 hours to write and design.  They are top shelf as I believe in nice literature, and that’s the only kind of work I do.  You can probably get a catalog sheet at an instant printer for a few hundred dollars and it’s the luck of the draw if it will look great – there are some great designers out there, so maybe.  So it depends on the eye – and experience – of the designer assigned to your product sell sheet.

You’ll have way less of a chance getting great writing in the copy – not too many really great top-notch copywriters out there.  Writing, and knowing what to write, it one of my strengths.  The catalog sheet is an important part of your marketing package.

Some things to think about when writing a marketing plan.

These are some of the written aspects of the marketing plan.

The effective part of the marketing plan is accomplished in the back room.

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It’s called market research.

Finding and getting all the industry magazines, and reading them.

Learning what competitors are doing, where – and at what prices.

Finding the MOST LIKELY TO PURCHASE people to market to so you can reach out to them FIRST!

Comparing magazine advertising costs.

A, B, and C publicity lists for a great PR campaign.

These are just the beginnings of things to think about if this is a go-ahead plan of attack.

It’s also the end of this article.  You can see a real in-depth marketing plan in my book, UnCommon Marketing Techniques.  It’s a no-bullshit instructional article on marketing.  You should get it.

Additional information is available:  Since you’ve read all the way down to here, I’ll assume you’re interested.

Lots more about marketing plans where this came from – direct from the horse’s mouth.  That would be me.  Just call to discuss.  This first call is always free.  610-642-1000 rings on my desk.

This bottom line: Marketing campaigns exist based on your budget and requirements.  I wouldn’t write a $100,000 marketing plan if you had $10,000 in your marketing budget.  By the same token, I would’t write a $10,000 marketing plan if you had a $100,000 marketing budget.  My own charges are solely based on the number of hours I spend writing the plan, the literature, then if selected implementing the plan.  You can figure a few consultations with a spend of $500 to $1,500, where you receive explicit instructions of what you need to do and more accurate costs. Or $5,000 for me to start doing it all for you…  First step, we need to talk and I’ll give you some exact figures to mull over.  Hope you enjoyed this article and found it helpful and of value.

We can also discuss this along with an immediate plan of action.  You can select any part of a marketing plan, or pick and chose where you’d like to start.

Thanks again for the opportunity to quote.

Jeffrey Dobkin image

Jeffrey Dobkin

Jeffrey Dobkin is a heavily experienced marketer who can see a hole in you marketing plan from the parking lot.  He has written 5 books on marketing.  Call him to discuss what you’re doing right in your marketing and what you’re doing wrong – and how to increase your marketing effectiveness while lowering your costs.  610-642-1000 rings on his desk.