What is a Marketing Agency Contract?
A marketing agency contract–or marketing agency agreement–is a legal document that cements the relationship between the digital marketer and the client.
A marketing agency contract is hugely important for any business relationship. It provides clear and specific details about the roles to be played by each party. It also sets expectations for both parties in terms of timings and compensation–everything you need to start the business venture with your best foot forward.
The contract also dictates the extent of the working relationship and the project scope at hand. It ensures mutual understanding and respect in order to establish a smooth working process and relationship.
As a self-employed marketer, you’re well aware of the risk of scope creep–when clients (unintentionally) take advantage and try to bombard you with new responsibilities mid-project. Using a marketing agency contract helps you avoid this scope creep–allowing for a much more transparent relationship.
Like most agreements, a marketing or advertising agency agreement manages expectations on both sides. It limits any future misunderstandings or miscommunications and ensures that the ad agency and the client enjoy a fruitful professional relationship.
The agreement is also known as a commission agreement or a sales agent agreement.
Note: Get started with this free marketing agency contract template by signing up to Bonsai today.
What to Include in the Marketing Agency Contract Template
Depending on the task at hand, a marketing agency agreement template can be a simple one-page document, or it could be 50 pages long. However, the backbone of the document doesn’t change–some common elements cannot be ruled out regardless of the size of the document.
Here are the vital sections you should include in your marketing agency contract:
Identify the parties
These details include the legal names of the businesses and their formal addresses. You can then assign particular tags like “client” and “contractor” after first citing the legal business names—especially important for marketing agencies.
This identification process limits any confusion as to whom the contract involves, and also ensures that legal action–if required–can be taken easily.
The process of signing a marketing agency contract involves the exchange of confidential information. It’s vital to ensure that you clearly define what constitutes confidential information and how it should be kept.
Ensure that the client tells you what can be disclosed and what should be kept secret–these are intellectual property rights you might have to address. This will help you to not only avoid conflicts but also help avoid legal consequences.
It’s always important to specify when the project starts and ends as well as what constitutes the conclusion of the project.
The contract should clarify if you’re working on a retainer or a fixed-term basis. If you are working on a retainer, it means that the marketing agency contract between you and the client is a long-term, fixed-fee agreement.
Give details of whether the contract has renewal dates or not. This is something that you have to agree upon with the client so that they choose to renew or end the contract.
On the other hand, a fixed-term contract means working on a specific project with a start and end date. It’s also important to note that–despite everyone’s best efforts–project plans don’t always run according to the timelines specified in the contract. Include details on what happens if this ends up being the case.
Scope of work
The marketing agency contract should specify the exact services you will provide. After all, this is the contract’s very purpose–the more detail, the better.
To be on the safe side, your agreement should cover:
- Marketing strategies
- Marketing materials
- Any independent contractors to include
- Project plans
- Creative concepts
- Timelines of work
Ensure you’re specifying the fees that the client will incur if they need additional work done. You can also mention the process for requesting that extra work–don’t forget to specify whether you can choose to decline the additional work.
To avoid misunderstandings and for the sake of your freelance career, ensure things are clear and comprehensive. For example, make sure you’re clear about the agreement reached–whether that’s a marketing services agreement or an advertising agency agreement. Avoiding confusion prevents problems down the line.
Including this information gives you grounds to sue if things go sideways. For example, if the client fails to provide total payments even after you’ve delivered all that was expected of you as defined in the marketing agent agreement. It's always best to be prepared.
The scope should include details on the following:
- What tasks were agreed upon?
- What are your goals, and how do you plan to go about achieving them?
- What marketing services are you providing, and what is not part of the contract?
- What are the tangible deliverables of your services?
- What is required of the client?
- Are there any specifications on what happens in case of additional tasks?
- How many revisions are allowed before overtime project fees are applied to the changes?
By providing all of these details you make sure your work is being valued, protected, and properly remunerated–as well as making sure everyone’s clear about what’s being delivered.
Disputes are one of the main reasons you as a freelancer must ensure that the marketing agency contract is carefully written. Ensure that there is a clause that details what both parties can do in case of disputes.
Dispute resolution clauses can come in handy when you find yourself in tricky situations. It’s always best to start within an internal way of resolving disputes before turning to external institutions.
The worst part about conflicts is that they are extremely expensive and stressful–plus, the results aren’t guaranteed to be in your favor.
Whilst the aim is to avoid disputes where possible, making sure your contract is rock solid will make disputes easier to manage if they do come up. It’s a good idea to include the process for written notice in case any party would like to cancel the contract early.
When drafting your marketing agency contract, ensure that you stipulate when either party can decide to terminate the contract–this is a termination clause. Making the circumstances under which termination is allowed ensures that no one is taken advantage of.
Here are some of the reasons that you can include to justify termination on your end:
- The client does not communicate instructions clearly
- The client fails to pay as agreed
- You don’t feel comfortable working with the client
- The client falsely gives you any intellectual property that is not theirs
Any breach of contract is grounds for termination, but it’s up to you to define the terms. Ensure you state how notice is given and how long the termination process takes. Don’t forget to detail what happens in regards to completed work and payment when everything comes to a halt.
Another essential thing to add to your contract is the pricing and payment information and terms. No marketing contract–or any contract, in fact–would be complete without this section on payment terms.
You should include amounts, deadlines, methods, and, thanks to this highly connected world, the currency in which you’ll be dealing all the payments.
Bonsai top tip: Make sure you’re making things as easy as possible for all parties by including online-payment options–luckily, Bonsai’s templates allow for e-signatures.
How to Write a Marketing Agency Contract
Once your freelance business takes off, you may consider establishing an agency–here are some tips on doing just that. Doing business as an agency with a previous client is pretty easy and fast as you’re familiar with how the working relationship works.
Before you get started, your agency–or the agency you work for–needs to take a pause and ensure that a solid agency service agreement is written and signed.
After all, an agreement is needed to:
- Protect your agency and the new business relationship
- Ensure your employees are performing the work you want them to
- Protect yourself by making sure your clients are crystal clear on what work is being done–and not being done
So, having a standard agency contract is important. By clearly outlining the roles and responsibilities, you can ensure everyone’s on the same page. Having access to a marketing agreement template will make it easy to get started on new work, and ensure consistency among all the agency’s contracts.
Another thing you definitely need to pay attention to when writing a marketing contract is the language you use. It should be simple and easily understood by all parties. Writing the contract using complex legal jargon will complicate the document for the client and even lead to delays in signing it–however, you need to make sure that the terms you are using are legally correct.
Last but not least, make sure you are using the correct terminology of the marketing industry–think branding, copy, leads, and more. This way, your new partner can see you have vast industry knowledge–and that you know all the trade secrets too!
Advantages of using a marketing agreement template
There are plenty of advantages when it comes to working with a template–here are four of the most important perks:
- Speeds things up: being able to fill in the blanks, add or delete sections, send it to your client and have them sign it in just a matter of minutes is a huge win
- Legally sound: using a legally vetted contract template will ensure you are including the right terms and correct information to guarantee legal protection–with minimal effort on your side
- Highlight your professionalism: when using a professionally made template–like Bonsai’s templates–you’ll show just how serious are you about new business
- Consistency is key: it’s essential to be consistent with branding, and using a template allows you to have and share your brand consistently with all of your clients and business partners
Thing to watch out for when editing a marketing agreement template
Now that you know what the main advantages of using a template to write your marketing agency contract–or any contract–are, you need to know what things you need to be careful of in order to seize the template’s full potential:
- Pay close attention: make sure your contract template is specific to your project and that it has all the required information. This is key in order to avoid sending out a faulty contract over and over again.
- Don’t forget to proofread: it’s easy to hit send before double-checking your contract–easy, but not recommended. Don’t forget to proofread, even have someone else from your team read it, before you hit send.
Bonsai top tip: As you work with the same client on several projects and build a trusting relationship, you might be tempted to reduce the formality and omit some clauses from the marketing agent agreement–resist this! Maintain your professionalism and processes, always.
Creating a Marketing Agency Contract Template is Simple with Bonsai
You have learned what makes a professional and legal marketing agency agreement–now all you have to do is create one.
Bonsai provides a wide variety of contract and agreement templates for you to use–as well as invoice, quotation, and proposal templates. Once you select the template that best suits your needs, fill out the necessary fields with the correct information for your case and you’re done.
The fact that Bonsai templates are 100% customizable allows you to:
- Modify sections
- Add online payment options
- Schedule a date to send it out
- Use a previously used contract as a new template
- Add your brand’s logo, color palette, and typography
As well as many other options, too. Simply download, edit, and sign to get started!
Marketing Agency Contract Template FAQs
How long should the marketing agency agreement be?
There’s no specific length for a marketing agency agreement. The right question here shouldn’t be how long your agreement or contract should be, but whether it includes all the necessary information.
The best way to make sure your contract is as long as it needs to be is by reading it carefully and making sure all the specifics of the job–such as payment terms and contingency plans–are included.
What is included in a free marketing agreement template?
When editing an agreement template, all the important information will already be included.
If starting from scratch, your template should include the following:
- Interpretation of the agreement
- Terms of the agency agreement
- Duties and responsibilities of the agency
- Duties and responsibilities of the principal
- Commission structure (if applicable)
- Fee structure (if applicable)
- Data protection
- Dispute resolution
All of these sections and important information will already be included when you use Bonsai’s templates, all you need to do is fill it, proofread it, and send it out!