The Problem With Long-Term Digital Marketing Contracts

April 25, 2019

We hear over and over again from our clients that they’re fed up with long-term contracts. It’s not hard to see why: while long-term contracts can promote long-term strategy opportunities and strong client-agency relationships, they’re often a poor choice for clients looking to be adaptive and efficient with their real estate marketing plan.

The truth is, you can still accomplish long-term marketing strategy and strong client-agency relationships without the burden of a long-term contract. That’s why we never force our clients to sign long-term contracts for digital marketing—our clients are always free to say goodbye to us with just 30 days notice. It’s important to us that clients stay because we are providing what they need, not because they are stuck in a contract (that’s our idea of a strong client-agency relationship)!

If you’re on the fence about signing a long-term marketing contract, we hope you’ll take a few minutes to read through these top things to consider when evaluating long-term contracts (and reasons why you might want to choose an agency that can work without them).

No Freedom to Adapt

Things move fast in the marketing world, especially when it comes to digital marketing. It’s important to be able to roll with the punches and make sure your marketing strategy always stays relevant to your needs. A short-term contract allows you to focus on high-impact strategies, then analyze their ROI and make adjustments as needed. You’re never obligated to keep walking down the same path if an agency isn’t moving the needle for you. You’re also free to dial back your services when you don’t need them as much, like when you’re all leased up.

In order to take full advantage of the benefits of a short-term contract, make sure you’re also getting transparent and prompt reporting from your agency. Threshold makes tracking ROI that much easier with ThreshBOARD™. Whether you work with us or someone else, a short-term contract that includes transparent reporting is going to give you the ability to pivot your strategy as soon as you know you need a change, allowing you to keep up with the fast pace of the digital world.

Less Incentive for Excellence

It’s unfortunate, but it’s true: agencies are less incentivized to wow their clients the moment they sign a long-term contract. Don’t get us wrong, agencies are still incentivized to do good work and cultivate strong relationships with their clients, but they also know that a lackluster result here and there will come out in the wash since the client isn’t going to stop paying for their services at any moment. With a long-term contract, you’re likely to see the best work in the few months leading up to a contract renewal, when the agency’s incentive to impress is high, rather than consistently throughout the year.

With a short-term contract, your agency is that much more motivated to deliver excellent results consistently, and may go above and beyond to do so. They know that a client can get out quickly if they’re not seeing the results they want. They are also motivated to be efficient with your spend, delivering you the biggest bang for your buck.

Obligation to Pay With No Added Value

Of course, the worst situation you can find yourself in with a long-term contract is being obligated to pay even if an agency just isn’t doing anything for you. This situation causes ROI to plummet and traps you in an unpleasant client-agency relationship that drains both resources and job satisfaction. Your relationship with your agency should be founded on mutual success and shared passion, and when it’s not, you should be free to sever ties.

For all these reasons, a short-term contract often suits clients’ needs more effectively than a long-term one. If you’re ready to be adaptive, efficient, and see high ROI, get in touch with a Threshold team member today. We’d be happy to walk you through our 30-day terms with no punitive cancellation methods.