Retainers have many advantages that have kept them a popular compensation method for professional services.  Here are five reasons they are a smart way to work with a full service marketing firm.

Like any business, a marketing agency needs to be profitable in order to stay in business and be a reliable resource for their clients. Compensation methods are many and varied, but a retainer relationship as all or part of the financial arrangement you have with a marketing agency is something you should explore.  If the agency doesn’t bring it up, you should ask if it is something they offer.  Here are five reasons why Rains | Birchard Marketing thinks retainers are a smart way to do business with us:

1. Budget for your marketing expenses.  In many cases, clients will have a fairly consistent level of needs over the course of a year, and the costs to meet these needs can be accurately projected. Assigning a fixed fee, or retainer to this work allows a client to easily budget for the majority of their marketing expenses while also allowing the agency to forecast revenue.

2. Proactive thinking on your behalf.  Marketing is rarely a stationary endeavor; what keeps your business’ brand at the forefront of your customers’ mind is creative action.  By retaining your marketing agency, you give them the freedom to explore creative ideas that may never be finalized but would result in billable hours.

Without a retainer for the agency to bill this time to, you’ll likely not want to pay for this exploratory work, but it can sometimes lead to the most innovative and successful marketing ideas.

3.  No dis-incentive to call the agency.  Retainers foster positive ongoing relationships between the client and agency by allowing the agency to quickly act upon requests or opportunities for the client without awaiting budget approval.  And as the client, you don’t need to feel like “the meter is running” every time you call or e-mail the agency.

4. You’re at the front of the line.  You have priority within the agency over those clients who do not have a retainer.  Simply put, you’re a preferred customer pre-paying for services so you get served first.

5. Get a better deal. If a client is willing to commit to a retainer, the agency is often willing to offer somewhat reduced rates in exchange for the commitment.  Buying in bulk gives you some negotiating power.