Paying for advertising: advice for retailers

Jonathan M Lace

How best to pay an advertising agency is a long-standing debate, but up till now there has been little empirical evidence upon which to base decisions. In a recent survey, retailers reported lower satisfaction with their advertising agency remuneration agreement than clients in any other sector. As remuneration has the potential not only to sour day-to-day relationships, but more significantly to provide incentives to the agency for better advertising, a better agency service and value for money, getting it right is without doubt an important task. This paper examines the factors that are associated with satisfaction, notably the methods and practices of remuneration employed, the characteristics of the advertising task and advertiser situation, and advertiser attitudes on the equitability of the agreement. Findings indicate that changes to certain methods, practices and attitudes may be beneficial to both client and agency. Best-practice advice is offered, and conclusions drawn.