Written by Steven Tate

In the fast-paced world of marketing, where digital platforms evolve by the minute, and trends come and go like a summer breeze, it’s essential for marketers to adapt not only their strategies but also their business practices. One critical aspect often overlooked is consistently charging hourly rates as a marketer.


In this article, we’ll delve into why logging your hours and charging for your time is not only a smart business move but also a way to elevate the marketing industry.


The Hourly Rate Paradox

Have you ever wondered why professionals like CPAs and lawyers don’t hesitate to invoice for their time spent with clients, even down to the minute? It’s because they understand the value of their expertise and time. Yet, when it comes to marketers, some tend to give away their most valuable asset—their time—for free. This approach not only diminishes your worth but also attracts clients who may not genuinely value your services.

If a client cannot afford to have a conversation with you, it’s a sign that they might not be the right fit for your services, or worse, they could be exploiting your expertise without the intention to commit. Marketers should draw a line in the sand and recognize that their time is a valuable commodity.


Marketers vs. Marketing Functionaries

In the ever-expanding world of marketing, it’s easy to get lost in the multitude of roles and functions. While performing tasks like SEO, email marketing, copywriting, or ads management are important, they don’t automatically qualify you as a marketer. Just as a legal assistant is not a barred attorney, performing marketing functions does not make you a professional marketer.

Becoming a marketer takes time, experience, and a deep understanding of the overarching principles of marketing strategy. It’s about connecting the dots, analyzing data, and crafting holistic campaigns that drive results. Many marketers transitioned into their roles after performing various functions, and that’s perfectly fine, as long as they recognize the distinction and work towards becoming a professional marketer.


The Call for a Professional Association

One thought-provoking idea that has been gaining traction in recent years is the need for marketers to be licensed and required to pass an exam, similar to the legal profession’s Bar Association. This idea stems from the recognition that the marketing industry lacks a unified standard of professionalism, which often leads to clients expecting unprofessional tactics like free strategy plans when submitting proposals.

Creating a professional association for marketers would not only elevate the industry but also establish a framework for ethical practices, pricing standards, and professional development. It’s a call to action for marketers to come together, advocate for their industry, and demand the respect and compensation they deserve.


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The Wild West of Marketing

In the current marketing landscape, it often feels like the Wild West. With no standardization or regulation, it’s easy for clients to hold back on payments, while competition continues to rise. The costs of running a marketing business are ever-increasing, and without a professional association to guide the way, many marketers find themselves struggling to stay afloat.

Even in creative industries like Hollywood, writers and actors have formed unions to protect their rights and interests. While they still face challenges, their collective strength gives them a voice in shaping their industry. Imagine what marketers could achieve if they united and established their own version of the Bar Association.


Read my other blog post about unifying with licensing and a Marketing Bar Association here.


Elevating Your Marketing Game

To succeed in this dynamic industry, marketers must increase the value they bring to the table and charge clients accordingly for their expertise. Charging hourly rates commensurate with the value you provide not only ensures that you’re compensated fairly but also distinguishes you from the sea of marketing consultants.

Here are some practical steps you can take to elevate your marketing game:


  1. Log Your Hours:

Consistently track and log the hours you spend on client work and communication. This not only helps you understand how you allocate your time but also provides a clear record for billing purposes.

  1. Establish Hourly Rates:

Determine your hourly rates based on your skills, experience, and the value you bring to clients. Be transparent about your rates and communicate them clearly to your clients from the outset.

  1. Set Boundaries:

Respect your own time and set boundaries with clients. Avoid the temptation to engage in lengthy, unpaid consultations or excessive back-and-forth communication without compensation.

  1. Focus on Value:

Shift your mindset from selling services to selling value. Clearly communicate the benefits and outcomes clients can expect from your expertise.

  1. Advocate for Professionalism:

Join or support efforts to establish a professional association for marketers. Advocate for ethical standards, licensing, and regulations that promote industry-wide professionalism.

  1. Invest in Continuous Learning:

Stay up-to-date with the latest marketing trends and technologies. Invest in continuous learning and skill development to enhance your expertise.


In conclusion, the marketing industry is at a crossroads. It’s time for marketers to log their hours, take themselves seriously, and demand professional respect. By creating a unified front through a professional association, marketers can further elevate their industry, set ethical standards, and ensure that they receive the compensation they deserve. It’s time to move away from the Wild West and towards a future where marketers are recognized as the skilled professionals they truly are.

As we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of marketing, remember that your time and expertise are valuable assets! Don’t hesitate to charge for your time and continuously strive for excellence in your field. By doing so, you not only benefit yourself but also contribute to the overall growth and professionalization of the marketing industry.


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