As large and startup businesses, private and nonprofit organizations compete for the same market, the importance of marketing cannot be over-emphasized. Gone are the days when marketing was more about the communication of the product and the brand to the public. Marketing, in the last decade and recent years became the heart of business operations. It decides the success or failure of a company’s efforts to achieve its goals and as a result, is found in every aspect of the business.
Elements of a Good Marketing Services Agreement
There are businesses offering marketing services and there are those purchasing those services from a provider. There is no perfect strategy for marketing your business but a marketing service provider may well help you in achieving your target consumers and profit. The marketing services agreement often counts as the contract between two companies, spelling out their terms and conditions, and can be amended when necessary, and as long as both parties are okay with it. Here are the elements it should contain:
1. Marketing Consultants: The agreement should identify the consultants involved. Firms and sole proprietors that deals with providing marketing services are the consultants to other organizations or businesses. Consultants can serve more than one client at a time and their job includes providing advice and lending their expertise for a sound marketing plan. This may involve increasing profit and sales, keeping customers and changing brand perceptions. In a nutshell, the role of the consultant is to do research and analyze the client’s business and how products or the company itself are viewed in the marketplace.
2. Responsibilities: The agreement, like any other agreement, defines in detail, the responsibilities of each party. Marketing consultants may then agree to come up with a strategic marketing plan at a given date. The client, on the other hand, can agree to let the other party access internal documents, including intellectual property. In this case, you may want to add a confidentiality clause for the client’s protection and reassure them. Additional client responsibilities would include payment to the firm once work is deemed complete and acceptable.
3. Exclusivity: Marketing services agreement usually include a clause detailing its exclusive nature, which means the client agrees to use no other marketing services except for the consultant they are hiring for the whole term. This clause and the rest of the agreement for that matter applies to all of the client’s staff and the contractors. For instance, if the business you’re working with employs a third-party contractor in managing subsidiary operations, this firm may not be allowed to hire another firm in any marketing activities the subsidy performs. There are cases where the client can challenge this in the event that the marketing consultant cannot abide by its responsibilities.
4. Liability: Limited liability stresses that, while the contractor agrees to complete its responsibilities as promised, it does not commit that a specific financial result is imminent. It should be stated clearly in the agreement that the contractor may be free of liability for any financial gains or losses connected to the performance and use of the services it provides. For instance, the consultant may agree to develop a marketing campaign with an event to launch a new product line but they don’t have the obligation to compensate the client if the said event does not translate to an increase in sales.
5. Payment Obligations: Be specific as to the payments and how it should be made, as well as the method and conditions of paying or accepting payment from the other party. Where services and contracts are concerned, money tends to be an issue, so this should be spelled out very clearly. If you’re going to make a lump sum payment, indicate it. If you’re going to pay in installments or only when work is completed to your satisfaction, say so and list dates, times, and requirements. Consider including the method of payment as well. While some people might be okay with a business check or business charge card, others might want a cashier’s check or even cash.
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Steps to Write an Excellent Marketing Services Agreement
Let’s get real. Marketing can be tricky because there is so much to study about what works and what doesn’t, in your industry’s consumer market. For some companies, success can be determined on building a bundled offer which includes what clients want the most. Here are some steps you can follow to make sure your marketing agreement does not leave any important points out:
1. Find a way to differentiate: Try to go online and take a good look at your competitor’s ads, printed flyers and posters, and you’ll notice one glaringly obvious thing that all these materials have in common. Most of them take on the “me too” themes which should have been scrapped by now. As a result, their promotional materials rarely stand out.
2. Research: You can get marketing ideas and templates across the internet and check what works within the marketplace but having a campaign with something new to offer the audience is still a powerful stance, which your agreement should state. What sets your company apart from all the rest? For best results, identify the unique benefits you provide, and make them the central focus of your marketing message.
3. Get it in writing: In some situations, oral agreements can be legally binding but they’re hardly enforceable in court. And if luck isn’t on your side, they aren’t enforceable at all. Sitting down and talking about your terms and conditions and ending up with a handshake don’t quite seal the deal. In the corporate world, most contracts and agreements should be done in writing, or else you won’t have anything on record.
4. Deal with the right person: You’re wasting your time if majority of your transaction with the other business takes place with an ordinary staff, employee or company messenger who needs the approval of someone above him. You can’t negotiate the terms with anyone else other than the right person. If you see this coming, be firm and be very clear in requesting to deal with whoever has the authority to commit and has a vested interest in making sure they perform their end of the agreement. If you’re not sure who the right person is, you can always ask.
5. Identify each party properly: This seems pretty simple and self-explanatory but you’ll be surprised how many entrepreneurs and even marketing consultants get this wrong or brush this off easily as something unimportant. You need to write down the correct, legal names of the parties entering the agreement to set things clear as to who is responsible for performing the tasks indicated in the agreement. This is also important for identifying who you have legal rights against if things don’t go as what has been committed to and agreed-upon.
Tips in Writing a Marketing Services Agreement
The core of a marketing plan is on keeping its customer base intact while winning more to make that base stronger. It draws on facts and statistics as well as objectives to make a great marketing strategy. The marketing strategy serves as your company’s action plan. Almost a month into 2019, what is your focus? What type of audience do you want to win this time? Below are some tips you can use for finalizing your agreement:
- Spell out the details: The body of the marketing services agreement should spell out both parties’ rights and obligations. You can’t leave anything out. For instance, if you have agreed on something through a cup of coffee and an afternoon chat but it isn’t written anywhere in the contract, don’t expect that you can enforce it. According to the law, judges (depending on the state, with a few exceptions) can only view and interpret a contract in “four corners” which doesn’t include what you said to each other. Simply put, if it’s not on record, it didn’t happen or it didn’t exist.
- Choose a state law to govern the agreement: If you and the other party are located in different states, you should choose only one of your state’s laws to apply to the contract to avoid sticky legal wrangling later. In addition, you may want to specify where you will mediate, arbitrate, or bring legal actions under the contract. This will simplify your life if a dispute does crop up.
Marketing Services Agreement FAQs
Why should an agreement be in writing?
Even if the law doesn’t require it, a written agreement is less risky than an agreed-upon conversation, lest disputes arise and it turns into an ugly he-said-she-said battle. Make it both parties’ responsibility to have a document that clearly spells out their rights and obligations in case of confusion or disagreement.
What is a co-branding agreement?
The ideal co-branding agreement involves two or more companies acting in cooperation to associate any of various logos, color schemes, or brand identifiers to a specific product that is contractually designated for this purpose.
What is the advantage of hiring a marketing service provider?
According to business reports, developing a comprehensive strategy for media marketing and outsourcing all work for all channels (with a minimum of, say, two social networks) would costs anywhere from $3,000-$20,000 per month, with the industry average settling between $4,000-$7,000 per month.
Marketing is a very broad field and being hired to be in charge of a company’s marketing efforts in all channels is a tough, tough job, with both your boss and the client expecting you to deliver a stellar marketing campaign. It’s also important to note that even with technology on the rise, traditional marketing still has its place in the business world. There’s no doubt that marketers are masters at influencing the masses since they themselves spent years and gained lost of experience to learn about, purchase, and enjoy the world’s products and services. Your client and their customers would expect no less.