Thursday, March 03, 2005

The Billable Hour is a Marketing Problem

At Richard Hall has republished his article, "The "Billable Hour" - History of a Problem". In the article Richard looks at both the history of the billable hour and the not so great side effects of this now entrenched practice.

The billable hour IS a marketing problem because it is a constant ding on trust. We have all experienced knowing we could do something so much faster than someone else. That feeling is so much a part of us we cannot escape it. And, we also know how we've used time, or misused it.

A perfect example: Send a child to clean his/her room and the time it takes is exactly proportionate to how much time before the child's next "big thing" is on the horizon (a TV show, meeting with friends, going skating, etc.).

As marketers we constantly have to be aware of this little ding in trust that lurks in the one-to-one relationship between a partner and the client.

I think Richard is right. There must be a better way, and it cannot come by adjusting or tinkering with what is already in place. I think it will take an entirely new partnership, formed and modeled around a new way of pricing for services. The answer is out there. I'm looking for it. What about you?

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