Reasons why digital marketing retainers work better for both clients and agencies.

Why pay your agency a monthly retainer?

Retainers are normally used for ongoing tasks where there is no defined start or end to the service provided. Commonly used for ongoing marketing, advertising or support etc. A little bit like engaging a specialist employee but you also don't need to worry about office space, training, superannuation or worksafe.

There are many advantages to using a retainer that may not first meet the eye, reliability, affordability, accountability, knowledge and much more. Making it a popular compensation method for professional services.

What is a digital marketing retainer?

A marketing retainer is an agreement between a client and an agency to work together for a set period of time on an ongoing basis. The agency reserves a set amount of time for the client per month at a set rate or defined budget.

Retainers are normally prepaid. Major benefits for the client are lower costs, priority treatment, intimate knowledge, a trusted partner, expertise, accountability and buy in. The agency will have an invested interest in the success of the business which encourages them to be proactive and often work beyond the expected scope of the project.

Why marketing retainers work?

A retainer agreement is focused on achieving long term business goals and should outline the work required to get there. They are often based off a strategy and a plan that have defined milestones and targets that need to be reached.

Online marketing requires a long term commitment which typically starts to deliver a return on investment after 6-9 months and continues to grow from there, so you need a partner who can be accountable and committed for the longer term.

In this fast paced world of digital communication, you need to keep up with the technology and react fast to trends. Your chosen agency will become an expert on your business and your industry so you need to make sure you get the most out of them and not your competitors.

Why clients should use retainers:

  • Intimate understanding of your brand, business and industry sector
  • Build a long term relationship and trust
  • Priority treatment and quick response when needed
  • Good value for money. Lower hourly rate
  • No surprise costs and no lump sum costs. Easier to budget
  • Commitment to getting a return on your marketing investment
  • Clients benefit from proactive thinking from the agency
  • Keep ahead of competition in the fast moving digital space 

Why agencies should offer retainers:

  • Get a deeper understanding of clients long-term goals and needs
  • Easier to work to a clear long term roadmap
  • Tap into years of marketing experience
  • Save valuable time. Easier to focus control the outcome
  • No need to constantly pitch to new clients
  • Predictable resources and income
  • A solid partnership allows an agency to take risks and to be an expert rather than a service provider

Differences of Retainer vs Project Work

To help you decide between using a retainer agreement or project based services, you need to know what your big picture goals are. Are you wanting a single task carried out to address one item such as website, brochure and email marketing, or are you looking to take a more long term and holistic approach that could benefit the whole business?


  • Broader scope of services delivered
  • More accountability to RIO
  • Long term engagement (typically 6+months)
  • More focus on ongoing needs
  • Proactive service
  • Trusted partner
  • Priority treatment


  • Well defined scope and services
  • Quoted or estimated
  • Clear short term deliverables
  • Short timeline
  • One off needs

If you interested in learning more about how Flux Creative can help you grow your business feel free to contact us for a casual chat.