It's WHAT you get paid for, not how much

Ross Fadner from Mediapost linked to my latest column in iMedia, but seemed to have glossed over the main point.  It's not that interactive agencies should be getting paid more.  It's that they're getting paid for the wrong thing. While there's a lot of work involved in getting a campaign live and maintaining/optimizing it over time, the most valuable portion of an engagement with a client is the strategy work.  Commission-based compensation models don't pay agencies at all for this work.  They pay a commission when the media runs.  Think about what kind of message that sends to agencies - that strategy ain't worth a damn, while execution is what gets you paid.  This doesn't make sense.  I think this is why many agencies are gravitating toward retainers, hours-based project fees and hybrids (a planning fee that's partially refundable if and when the campaign does run).

Agencies do a lot of great strategy work, and many times an agency compensated on commission doesn't get paid for it when a client decides not to run the accompanying media campaign.  Do this enough times and you'll go out of business.  Plain and simple.