2 minutes to read

Why Retainers Work Better for Us and our Clients

One of the fundamental changes we made to our business model in 2018 was a shift from one-off projects to retainer-based engagements. While it definitely helps us by smoothing out our cash flow and making sure that we have a stable company, our clients have found that having a long-term relationship also helps them.

As an agency, we have found that the clients for whom we have produced the best results have been with us for multiple years. The benefits of a long-term client relationship are clear:


  • We gain a deeper understanding of your long-term business goals, sales processes, team members, ideal customer and competition.
  • We can create a road map and plan out our team’s schedule to meet those goals.
  • It simplifies the billing and reduces administration cost.
  • We can take calculated risks in, and make adjustments to, marketing tactics.


And retainers don’t just help us (the agency). It helps our clients as well:

  • Working with us long-term ensures that we have a good understanding of your business, which means more focused and personalized content.
  • You can pick up the phone and speak with someone who knows you and your company very well.
  • You can access the width and depth of an agency’s skill set without having to go out and find the marketing and consulting resources you need.
  • Your website, marketing strategy and sales processes become more closely aligned and integrated.
  • It’s easier to set up and determine your annual marketing and sales budget with a retainer than if you tried to slice out all of the activities by different projects and with different agencies.

However, retainers are not right for all companies.

We have found that retainers do not work well for companies who have not defined their business goals, have not set an annual marketing and sales budget, do not believe that marketing and sales should be aligned or are just looking for a point solution. These companies typically find retainers confusing and would rather find a service provider to perform a very specific task.

Retainers work best when you want to play the "long game" and are looking for a strategic partner who can help you hit your sales goals.

Written by David Lee

As the founder of Do What Works, my goal is to take the best practices and lessons I learned from working with Fortune 500 companies and bring them to the mid-size market and help our clients grow their business.