The only agency compensation model in which I personally believe


I often encounter two very different struggles:

  • from agency owners – how hard is it to get paid according to their actual value
  • from business owners – how the previous agency didn’t generate the results and value they promised to deliver


Creative agencies are chasing well-paid retainers. Chasing and catching well-paid retainers is a never-ending story where the client often gets the stick’s short end.

How? Due to the unsuitable compensation model, the agency assigns younger or junior staff to the project where seniority is crucial to get proper results. The result is degradation in service quality and delivery of results.

Some agency owners would say something like this:

  • we cost more than others because we have the best people involved in our client’s projects
  • we are only working with companies that have a proper budget
  • that is the reason why we are only working with those clients who fit our culture
  • some would mention all of these points


Each of the above claims sounds good. The truth can lie somewhere else. To be more precise, we are getting back to the never-ending pursuit for better and better retainers without properly understanding your path and aspirations.

The point is not onboarding more and more clients, collecting them like pokemon, getting better and better retainers, and employing more people.

True business profitability and scaling your agency doesn’t work that way. Saw that all too often.
Walking down that path, you could end up overwhelmed, and what was previously your “forte” and passion now became a massive burden from which you want to run away.

Instead of focusing on the continuous chase for new clients, the optimal scenario focuses on fewer clients and building trustworthy relationships and partnerships.

It is easier to leave the agency perceived as a service provider than to depart from business cooperation with your business partner.

How to be perceived as a true business partner and prevent the situations and dissatisfaction mentioned earlier in the article?

A proper compensation model will give satisfaction and alignment to both parties. What does that mean?

Approach your clients with a result-driven compensation model. The only agency compensation model in which I believe.

Don’t overcomplicate with various pricing options, packages, and tiers. Offer the actual partnership compensation model with your neck on the line. Your compensation will reflect the results you generate.

To implement that business cooperation model, you will need to truly get to know your client with complete transparency and have access to these elements:

  • current business bottlenecks
  • challenges
  • previously used tactics and results
  • proper human resources and availability in-house
  • access to profitability data and profit margins
  • short-term and long-term goals
  • overall marketing budget


Detect, align, define and weigh the actual situation with existing resources and gathered data. Now you have the right information to decide if you want to start that partnership.

Start scaling your agency smartly and effectively.


Filip Zolota