Share This Article, Choose Your Platform!
A map of the greater Cleveland area.

Depending on the industry of your business you may be doing more search-based marketing or social media-based marketing. The cost of both has changed over the past few years, thanks to a multitude of factors around the world. Many companies have started paying more for social media marketing strategies and have lowered their budget for search-based campaigns. Cleveland still has a healthy mix of companies using either method, or depending on the industry one may work better than the other in certain circumstances. Many of the services companies, like Acclaim, offer cover a wide variety of aspects of businesses. From website development, public relations, to video production to graphic design, to more advanced strategies like lead generation, inbound marketing automation, and even full-scale productions of video podcasts are common offers from Cleveland Marketing agencies.

Since 2020, specifically April of 2020, the marketing strategies of companies have shifted wildly thanks to the pandemic. Online commerce shot through the roof, and the rise of Amazon and streaming services exploded as well with people locked in quarantine. We have slowly but surely come out of that rut, as in-store commerce has started to come back to normal as of April 2024, but the sheer magnitude in which platforms like Amazon and Disney grew in such a short amount of time cannot be overstated.

Today we see the marketing landscape returning to pre-pandemic levels with a rise in in-store shopping and e-commerce coming closer to where it was in 2019. The magic number is usually 10% of your budget goes towards marketing and advertising, but a percentage-based plan doesn’t always translate to a good return on investment. We are going to look at a few factors to consider when pricing out your marketing budget for a firm in 2024. So, how much does a marketing agency in Cleveland cost?

A parson working on their laptop with a pen, paper, and a cup of coffee as well.

Types of Marketing Services

First, we need to identify what types of services a marketing firm or advertising agency would offer. Digital marketing is the largest part of the industry, by far. The industry itself was already huge before the pandemic, but now it has achieved an irreplaceable status. Social media management is one of the key focuses of digital marketing and having a dedicated person or party to update your profiles, post, share, and, well, be social on your social media sites can greatly increase your visibility on those platforms. Social media sites reward accounts that are more social, it’s as simple as that.

Search engine optimization is another key player for websites that are looking to appear in search engines more often, and higher in the results. We won’t get into the specific science of it, but basically you are planning out what words and phrases your website, social media accounts, or even descriptions on posts will focus on to pop up on a search result. This goes hand in hand with a “pay-per-click” strategy that generally charges your business for every click a potential customer commits on your advertisements. When you pay for a Google Ads campaign, you can pay Google for every click your ad receives, be it on a still ad or just boosting your website’s home page in an ad campaign.

Next up is traditional marketing. This is how we used to do it before the internet took over our lives. This type of marketing still exists, but it is a fraction of its former glory. There used to be a time back in the 1990’s and early 200’s (also known as the Mesozoic Era for younger people) where actual printed flyers would be printed out, hung up, taken to stores and community centers, or handed out in front of stores. Now, some of this style of advertising is still alive, and honestly will never die, because actually holding paper in your hands is much more personable than seeing a small bright box on your phone you can just exit out of when you visit a webpage briefly to find a recipe. To go one step further, some advertisers still send out coupon books in the mail to their perspective customers in hopes of getting them into their stores or onto their websites. We can’t tell you how many postcards we have gotten with a sales pitch and a QR code for a company’s website in our mailbox.

Since we just spoke about old fashioned paper advertisements, we need to pay homage to other seemingly dying breeds of advertising, radio and television. Since the dawn of streaming services like Netflix and Spotify have risen to prominence, we cannot in good faith tell you that these mediums will net you any return on your investment. I personally use Pandora to play music in my car on the way home, and I can tell you that not even one single time have I ever considered buying a single product or service from any company that has ever advertised on that platform. The only thing I truly remember is a slogan from Bounce Dryer Sheets where they kept making the joke, “It’s the sheet!” and honestly, I’d give it like a 6/10 on that pun. I smirked; I did not laugh.

Creative services are often necessary for a business in branding, or later rebranding, with the creation of logos, brand guidelines, etc. Graphic design will be important to create your own personal “vibe” for your business. A good logo or mascot can do your brand wonders, and an agency that offers you graphic design options will save you a trip to an independent artist. In addition to graphically laying down the groundwork in a business strategy, one other unique avenue is content creation. This is hiring an agency to come out and take pictures or hire outside content creators to review your product or service.

There has been a large push on websites like YouTube where already popular creators will be hired to review a product or service, and the creator makes the content entirely by themselves. This is known as “User Generated Content” or UGC for short. These prices vary wildly depending on the creator’s audience, the creator’s background or experience, and even the creator’s location. Most times a smaller business will not hire someone in this manner, they will start by just enlisting an ad agency to continually post pictures on their Instagram page, or schedule posts for the month with already catered content.

The Cleveland sign in Cleveland, Ohio.

Video production is a little bit harder to find around Cleveland for a decent price. Some film production agencies charge upwards of $10,000 for a single 5-minute corporate overview video. We here at Acclaim do not subscribe to charging extra for video services. Agencies will often charge more per hour or project if it requires labor-intense work like videography or video editing. Animation and motion graphics for videos also take a long time and require trained professionals or experienced artists to create assets for a video. If you find an agency with the ability to create a video for you without charging extra fees or higher rates, jump on it, because some agencies will take you to the cleaners with higher charges for a good video.

The last service we will mention is website design and services. Agencies who offer brand guidelines will often can craft a website around that guide. It is always a good idea to have a fresh website with a unique feel and fresh coat of paint. Some of the more advanced web design factors are things like e-commerce stores, or digital marketplaces for educational purposes. These can be expensive in the short term, but once a website is completed it might not need to be redesigned for a few years afterwards.

A person navigating a hologram with '2024' and multiple social media icons displayed.

Factors that Influence Price

Sometimes the scope of a project may supersede the original idea. As projects develop, new ideas will be introduced and sometimes our eyes get a little bigger than our wallets. Keep in mind the more things you want on your website or if you want more animations in your video the price will go up. This can be especially true if multiple projects are all happening in the same time-frame. If you want to rebrand your business, refresh the website, create a corporate overview video, and take all new head shots of your employees you will undoubtedly eat up any retainer you have and will see a much larger bill.

Sometimes a nice uncomplicated design can be all we want. Something minimalist and eloquent can be priced and achieved. Sometimes we want an incredibly elaborate animation inserted into a previous video that will require a 3D artist to clear their schedule for 48 hours to deliver it in a couple of days. Depending on the level of skill required to do a specific task, or done in an urgent time limit, it will inevitably cost more to have it done properly, or even good enough depending on the circumstances.

We all want our business to be completely unique, but creating everything from scratch will come with a higher price tag. We need to think about tailored personalized solutions versus prepackaged solutions. In instances of back-end coding for a website a prepackaged solution might be best as code is not readily on display. A logo, however, should not be a copy of a previous logo done, as it will be horribly obvious the business, or agency, is just cutting corners to look presentable. However, the degree of customization is where the bills exist. If you want a 2d logo it will be reasonable, but if you want a 2D and 3D logo with animations and five variations of different color pallets with 3 different animations for each you will be looking at a much larger fee. Keep this in mind as you search agencies for services.

In a previous blog titled How to Choose a Marketing Agency in Cleveland where we discussed the pricing differences, upsides, and downsides of using a local agency, versus a national agency, versus an offshore agency. Each has their place, and it is up to you as a business owner to decide which is best for you. Local agencies may be slightly more expensive but are familiar with Cleveland’s culture and close by in case of urgent marketing needs. National agencies may not be as familiar with Cleveland self-destructive relationship with the Browns and may not be available for urgent matters, but they may cost a bit less. Offshore agencies are the cheapest, but with almost no knowledge of Cleveland, maybe a huge time zone difference resulting in communication gaps, and there might be a language barrier as well on top of it. Just think carefully about the needs of your business and if certain corners are worth cutting.

A person begind a video camera recording a busy street.

Average Prices in Cleveland

One of our favorite places to go to look at the market and our competitors is They have an extreme database for the entire US and do a fantastic job at organizing them into digestible information. Here is a very straightforward guide on Cleveland’s marketing agency average cost. It mentions many variables that we have already talked about in this article.

To shorten the data, we can say with confidence that the average cost of a marketing firm in Cleveland is roughly $175 per hour of work for a client. Again, this is the average and does not consider the fees associated with high-labor projects, or high-skill tasks like animation. The average cost for a branding project, depending on what your business needs, can be anywhere from $1,500 – $5,000. The reason this is so broad is because a new brand guideline may take some time, but the creation or rebranding of an entire company will take much longer and may require many more hours on the agency’s part.

These averages consist of:

Remember, utilizing more intense services will result in a higher hourly rate, and a bigger bill.

An animated graphic of people using electronic devices and social media to communicate.

Additional Costs to Consider

While marketing firms try to utilize as much as possible in-house, there are limitations. We here at Acclaim do not have our own personal print shop, so we send our larger printing jobs to Alpha Graphics on Superior Avenue. There are many instances of a marketing agency reaching out to contractors for work that may be too specific or niche.

Licensing music or stock footage may also be a cost that pops up in your projects. Buying a stock photo is much more feasible than hiring actors for the day to pose and take pictures, and a good agency will weigh the cost effectiveness of each and make the best decision.

Websites will always need maintenance and security, and it is wise to make sure your site is protected and operational. This is always going to be an active part of your business’ existence, and with how the internet changes and grows so rapidly it will always be a priority to protect your business and your customers’ data.

Choosing the Right Pricing Model for your Business

Some businesses require a much more hands-on approach from their agency and might consider a project-based pricing structure. Let us say you only want to create brand guidelines, nothing else is on the table now, well, it might be better to make a deal with a marketing firm for that project by itself. However, if your business needs a little care in all aspects of it’s existence, from the website to the brochures on the front desk, it might be worth your time to invest in an hourly retainer with an agency, and pay for the projects as the come up while keeping your business as polished as possible.

We just mentioned a “retainer” and we felt it was important to flush that out. A retainer is an agreed upon set of hours that an agency will give you at a flat rate. Anything over those allotted hours will then be charged an hourly rate. This is a great idea for small businesses if they anticipate a steady increase in business, and have a few large projects planned in the future. Many times, Acclaim has had to halt work on a project because the client suddenly needed an 8-minute investor video made within a week. With an hourly retainer you can have a much more flexible work schedule with your ad agency, which is why this option is the most popular among small to medium-sized businesses.

Wrapping Everything Up

All right, we went over everything we could think of when a business is dealing with an agency here in Cleveland. Here are the key points we want you to take away:

  • The average cost of an agency is $175 hourly, and $1,500 to $5,000 per project.
  • Depending on the types of marketing your business requires, it may be more or less expensive, i.e. 3D animations will inevitably end up costing more than a blog being written for your website.
  • There are multiple mediums to market with, choosing what is best for your business is a crucial step.
  • Local agencies may cost more but are more dependable. National agencies are often a little cheaper, but less dependable. Offshore agencies tend to be the cheapest, and the least dependable.
  • Deciding on hourly rates, per project rates, or hourly retainers all have upsides and downsides, and it is important to decide what your business needs.

It’s important to budget and have transparency with your marketing firm. Always make sure to ask about fluctuating hourly rates for several types of work, like video production, and always make sure to discuss using a retainer if you have multiple projects coming down the conveyor belt.

We hope this guide has helped you think about the price structures of marketing firms around the Cleveland area. Remember, you can always reach out to us here at Acclaim anytime. We have free consultations for our services and would be happy to talk to you about whatever project your business has coming up. Check out some of our clients over the years here.