Is your media agency contract fit for purpose? The signs that you might need to renegotiate.


Two years on from the infamous ‘Mediapaloosa’ and a year after the publication of the ANA report and the supporting recommendations, many marketers have demanded more of their media agencies and have in turn changed their commercial relationships to enshrine greater transparency. At Flock, we have helped many of these companies evaluate the strength and sustainability of their contracts and in doing so, have helped them build more open and future proofed relationships with their agencies.

There are still, however, many marketers bound by existing contract terms who may now be asking themselves if they too need to consider renegotiation. If you are now approaching a critical point in your contractual relationship term, these are the key questions we are advising our clients to consider:

  • Transparency, transparency, transparency: Is your contract a lot more ‘opaque’ than you’d like? Whether it relates to disclosure and treatment of rebates, what can be audited or how promised savings are calculated, we believe that a positive and mutually beneficial relationship comes only from clarity across the board. If something isn’t clear, then chances are it will cause you a problem down the line.
  • You get what you pay for: Do you feel like you are getting the service you are paying for? Is it always clear what makes up your final bill? A fair, incentivising and relevant remuneration structure supports transparency principles and rewards the results that make a difference to your business. Of course, alongside fair sits clear- convoluted systems that only the architect understands cause confusion and open up the risk of abuse on both sides.

The remuneration structure and success metrics you have in place should reflect both the ambition of your business and the kind of relationship you want to have with your agency. Are you confident that they do? If they don’t, what are you prepared to pay for outstanding agency performance that leads to business success?

  • Stacked against you: Are the costs and relationships that make up your technology stack defined and fair? If you have ever been unsure as to whether additionally remunerated costs were 3rd party or in fact for another part of your agency group, or have only been offered non-disclosed programmatic buying models, we can help you redress the balance in the relationship.
  • Data, data everywhere: Are you sure that you ‘own’ yours contractually? All client data should be just that and clearly defined as such. If it isn’t, we can help you do so and ensure that adequate safeguards and protocols are in place to protect your brands and consumers.
  • Safety first: Do your current contract provisions reassure you of where your ads will appear? Do you feel your ad verification strategy is robust enough? With recent news about YouTube still fresh in the minds of many marketers, there are clear steps that can be taken in the contract to help you hold agencies to account and in turn support them in their dealings with suppliers.
  • We need to talk: Are you and your agency leading separate lives? If relationship management and the ongoing evaluation of delivery is as important to the long-term health of your business as hitting   savings targets, that needs to be reflected in your contract. Setting the parameters for communication and service upfront is the first step to building the type of partnership where the points above hopefully don’t become a problem.

If any of these questions make you think that your current terms and relationship do not match your business needs, we can help you navigate your contract renegotiation or help you start the conversations with your agency to get you back on the right track.

At Flock, our goal is always to facilitate a collaborative and supportive process between your internal marketing, procurement and legal teams and your agency –  please contact us to discuss how we can help you get the contract that you need and deserve!

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