When Clients even hear the term of having a “No Hidden Surprises” fee policy, it may take one by surprise.
One may even question what ‘Hidden Surprises’ we could even be referring to.
Unfortunately the rapid development of Digital Ad Technology and plain unscrupulous business behaviour have allowed some of these hidden practises to catch out many an unwary client.
For the record, “No Hidden Surprises” means that, we, at Intentional:
- Do not accept any Cash Rebates, Commissions or Kickbacks. This aligns with our Belief that as your Advertising Agency and Digital Advisor our recommendations and optimisations for you need to be Channel Agnostic. That is, we are platform and channel neutral and have no inherent bias towards any media channel – our bias is towards client results. To that end, we choose to receive no cash rebates, commissions or kickbacks from any media owner for buying media through them which could colour our decision over which advertising channels to recommend and buy. Where rebates/commissions are offered in the form of additional media, these are passed back to the client account that ‘earned’ this commission – effectively lowering the cost of that client’s media buy by providing more impressions for no added cost.
- Do not participate in any Value Bank activity. Were we to receive Value Banks (additional Media impressions) we would not on-sell them, but similar to our policy on rebates/commissions, we would pass any extra media impressions to the client account that ‘earned’ such Value Banks, again, effectively providing more impressions for their account at no added cost.
- Do not run an Agency Trading Desk. We do not add a hidden percentage margin to any clicks/impressions purchased on behalf of our clients for any channel. The Cost per Click you are charged is the CPC cost directly from the channel/platform in question.
- Have Zero Exit Fees or Penalties. As you can imagine, it is expensive for us to lose a client however we have a core belief in complete transparency & accountability and therefore in all cases, our client (you) owns The Keys to your account/s which we simply manage on your behalf. At any point in time you have full access to your own ad account/s and can access them at will. Further, in the rare and unfortunate event that we part ways, you can take your account/s as-is with all data and history intact with zero penalty or Exit Fee from us (subject to the terms of our normal Supplier Agreement, of course). We believe this open transparency makes for the best incentive for us as an agency to consistently be delivering Value so that you hopefully want to stay with us, rather than be forced to stay because of the threat exit fees, penalties or legals.
- Are not subsidised. It always amuses us when we see other ‘specialist agencies’ who in reality offer a full suite of services – SEO, Web Development, Analytics, Content Management, Landing Page Optimisation etc. Because we only do advertising, we do not and can not subsidise poor performing or low cost advertising with income earned from other non-advertising related work. For us, your advertising delivers results or we don’t get paid.
- Does not answer to External Shareholders. Intentional is a privately owned, independent agency. Our recommendations are not bought by any third party agency, Media Conglomerate or external shareholders (of which there are none).
In short, unlike other agencies, the only source of income or rewards is the management fee we charge you – we are not subsidised or remunerated by any other means.
Our “No Hidden Surprises” fee policy is designed to completely align our business interests with yours.
We don’t get paid unless your advertising delivers results.
As an aside, in late 2015, the Media Federation of Australia released a Transparency Framework presumably as a response to the alarmingly increasing cases of misreporting & charging abuses by ad agencies to clients.
The transition to digital is a quantum leap from traditional media advertising, opening up a world of techno-jargon and the ability for agency sharks to ‘baffle clients with bull$(&t’ and get away with it.
The Transparency Framework is a step in the right direction to make clear items agencies should disclose to clients (or in the absence of this, questions that clients should be asking of their agencies):
- Rebates / Commissions / Kickbacks – Does the agency receive any form of cash or value compensation from a media owner for buying media through them?
- Value Banks – Does the agency receive free media as compensation from a media owner for buying media through them?
- Agency Trading Desks – Does the agency contractually become the media owner – allowing the agency to add a margin to all media buys?
- Ethics Training – Are agency staff required to undertake ethics training on induction and every 24 months thereafter?
We applaud and support this framework which we believe to be a positive move for the industry – and we openly invite you to ask us any questions that these items may raise.