How to Negotiate an Online Marketing Contract (1,033 words)
Contracts: Length of Service and Exclusivity
At first glance, contract length and exclusivity might not seem related. However, they both play an integral part in negotiating the best deal possible for your company, and should be carefully thought out.
When it comes to length of service, some providers will allow you to discontinue service without penalty and others will try to lock you into a specific time period, wherein the contract cannot be terminated for any reason. For these types of contracts, you will need to include clauses that can protect you in the event that the service provider does not perform as promised.
Contract length is a difficult item to negotiate. Many providers will allow you to negotiate the length of the "out clause" of a contract. You basically want to protect yourself if your goals are not being achieved.
Exclusivity is another stubborn contract item that is often hard to avoid. Basically, you will want to ask the following question when deciding on exclusivity: "What am I getting in return for giving exclusivity to a single provider?" The best scenario is getting the service provider to agree to an "opt-out" clause that can be used if your objectives aren't met. Protect yourself against the confines of a non-working relationship, especially since the online marketing world changes on a monthly basis.
A clause that is more of a win-win for both the marketer and service provider is an "auto-renewal" arrangement. This is where revenue benchmarks are set based on a specific duration of time. If the benchmark is met, the client automatically renews its contract with the provider. If the benchmark is not met, the client has the opportunity to either renew or terminate the contract.