Our honest pricing guide.

Helping you make informed business choices

The cost of marketing services varies hugely, from hundreds to hundreds of thousands of pounds. However, it’s difficult to get a clear sense of what a marketing consultant costs, because so few are open about their prices. This makes it hard for business owners to plan, budget for and progress marketing improvement work.

At LOCK, we want to help you do business better. That’s why this page gives you clear, honest and straightforward information about our prices to help you make informed choices that suit your business and your budget.

What do you charge?

Maximising the impact of your day-to-day marketing

We deliver quality, marketing director-level support, and, with a combined 30 years of experience behind us, we’re very good at it. We know how to supercharge your marketing function and empower you, your team and your external suppliers to run effective and efficient tactical marketing.

We charge our worth in line with the market

Our hourly rate per director is £100 per hour.

This rate covers our salaries, annual leave, pension contributions etc, as well as our business’ running costs such as accountancy, insurance, software, subscriptions - and, of course, our own marketing and promotion.

It also accounts for the fact that, as business owners, a large proportion of our working week is dedicated to non-income generating tasks such as business development, pitching and proposal writing, and business admin.

How do you charge?

We charge clients for the time we spend working on their project

When we create a proposal for you, it includes an estimated cost for your marketing project, clearly broken down into individual stages based on the time we think it will take to do the work.

We estimate because we provide creative, strategic marketing services that can vary widely depending on each client’s specific needs. We estimate to the best of our ability, based on information you provide in our initial discussions and our experience working on similar projects.

Wait, does that make sense?

It’s been pointed out to us that working efficiently when we charge by the hour reduces our final fee. But that’s exactly what we’re about: helping businesses save time, money and energy by running efficiently and effectively.

In addition, developing a reputation for honesty, efficiency and quality has served us well. Most of our work comes through referrals from happy clients. And, to say thank you for supporting us, we’re happy to pay a referral fee when that happens.

Do you do retainers?

Most marketing agencies work on retainer agreements by default. It’s a smart business model that provides the agency with assured regular income to cover overheads and pay staff, and gives the client the peace of mind that comes with securing ongoing support.

However, retainers don’t always make sense for our clients. We often manage projects that have a specific time-bound objective; for example, doing the strategic work required to set up a robust marketing function before handing it over to a business’ in-house marketing team.

For these projects, we’ll charge you for the time we spend working for your business. Once the project is completed to your satisfaction, our involvement can end if that suits you best.

On-demand marketing director

We also offer our clients the opportunity to retain our services when it suits them (and we do find most clients want us to keep supporting their businesses once they’ve worked with us once). After developing and implementing their strategic marketing infrastructure, we’ve become experts in their business and their brand while also maintaining the invaluable outside perspective that enables us to assess and critique activity productively.

Flexible retainer agreements

If you want to secure our services on an ongoing basis, then we’ll draw up a flexible retainer agreement that provides you with the hours your business needs. We can act as your outsourced marketing director, directing and managing your marketing function. Or, we can take a lighter-touch approach, checking in regularly to ensure you’re on track with your brand strategy and attending regular board meetings.

Example project costs

Brand Strategy

Prices start from £6,000

Brand Strategy projects usually take between 60 and 100+ hours to complete, although the average project duration is around 80 hours. The number of hours required depends on:

  • the complexity of your business
  • the amount of brand investment work you’ve already done
  • whether we need to project manage the creation or development of your visual identity

Find out more about our Brand Strategy service.

Illustration of a marketing consultant presenting to a client brand strategy

Service and Product Communications

Prices start from £2,000 (not including discovery stage)

Most often this service is delivered alongside a Brand Strategy project. This reduces the price as we’ve already completed a discovery stage, so don’t have to spend time familiarising ourselves with your business.

Service and Product Communications costs depend on how complex your product or service portfolio is. For example, identifying the best way to communicate a simple professional service takes significantly less time than a product portfolio with thousands of individual items.

Find out more about our Service and Product Communications service.

Illustration of two marketing consultants presenting product communications

Strategic Marketing Implementation

Prices start from £3,000

We deliver this service after we’ve undertaken Brand Strategy or Service and Product Communications work for your business.

The time spent on Implementation will depend on the scope of your project and whether we need to project manage suppliers for you.

We can provide a minimum cost, as every Implementation project begins by writing a website structure and content plan setting out how to apply your Brand Strategy and/or Service and Product Communications work to your business’ website. This takes a minimum of 30 hours to complete.

Find out more about our Strategic Marketing Implementation service.

Illustration of two marketing consultants with a large laptop screen strategic marketing implementation

No white labelling

What is white labelling?

Marketing agencies often ‘white label’ services that they don’t actually offer in-house. This essentially means they recruit a subcontractor you don’t know to do work for you without your knowledge, and then charge you the subcontractor’s fee plus a markup.

What does white labelling mean for you?

Well, you’ll get what you’ve been promised, but you’ll likely be paying more for the service than if you’d gone directly to the subcontractor. However, crucially, you also have less awareness of and choice over the suppliers working for your business.

Why we don’t white label

At LOCK, we don’t white label any services or hire subcontractors, because we strive for efficiency and believe that transparency benefits everyone. Most importantly, it benefits you. Together we have the shared freedom to identify the contractor most suited to your business, your project and your budget. We can either:

  • identify and recruit the best supplier for your project needs and budget
  • recommend a partner from our trusted network
  • work effectively with a supplier you already know and trust
  • work with a member of your in-house team

Put simply, you choose who works for you (supported by our advice and guidance), and can then rely on us to get the job done smoothly. We do charge for the time we spend working for you, because our involvement adds significant value to the project.

But at all times you can rest assured knowing where your money is going, to who and on what.