How brands can cope in a post-retainer world

by | Sep 25, 2018 | Analysis, Public Relations

A Q&A with Dustin Hoyman, Director of Business Growth at Outdoor Adventure Marketing

Relationships matter, but ROI matters more. This is the tough lesson that agencies are learning as brands challenge the traditional agency model. That’s why it’s important for agencies to refine their programs, based what clients want to see most: proof of leads. Agencies have 90 days to prove they’re worth the investment.

But because no two clients are the same, a retainer-based model doesn’t always help demonstrate that worth. Outdoor Adventure Marketing uses call tracking and analytics to garner leads for its clients, and instead of paying a monthly retainer, some clients only pay each time a lead is triggered. This makes clients understand the agency’s value in a more transparent, instantly gratifying way.

BR: Why would you recommend your business model to other agencies?

Hoyman: In this day and age, clients expect qualitative data, but more importantly, quantitative data. This is challenging when working with new clients while trying to establish trust in the first 90 days. No two clients are the same, and a retainer-based model simply doesn’t work for certain industries.

By using a lead gen model, it can be easier for clients to understand the results they’re receiving from the beginning. Outdoor Adventure Marketing uses unique technology solutions like CallRail, a call tracking and analytics provider, to garner leads for our clients, and instead of paying a monthly retainer, clients only pay each time they receive a phone call or form submission (AKA a lead). This helps clients understand the value of their marketing dollars by tying those dollars to actual lead activity.

What are the advantages of your business model?

By using a strategic business model, such as this, clients can instantly understand the value of the dollars they’re investing in marketing. Not only is it more clear to the client when paying for an actual lead, but it’s more transparent and they can more easily justify their marketing spend because they see tangible results. From an agency perspective, we’re still generating the same revenue while giving clients more flexibility in their advertising. Overall, the lead gen model is new for the tours and activity space, which makes it alluring to a market that experiences extreme fluctuations due to seasonality and unpredictable weather.

What are some tips for engaging with your clients in an out-of-the-box way?

Agencies stay relevant by providing unique solutions to their clients and additional value that they wouldn’t be getting otherwise. For example, the lead generation model is only possible by using call tracking and analytics technology. Tracking and analyzing inbound phone calls is necessary to understand which campaigns are working and which are not. As a result, agencies can decide where to direct advertising dollars to generate the most effective results for their clients.

How do you prove ROI to your clients?

Proving the return on investment (ROI) is arguably one of the hardest things for any marketing agency to do. Generic models with predictable metrics won’t be satisfactory for most clients these days. Most want their ROI reported in real time to justify the cost of the agency they are working with. While it’s important to look at the overall campaign success in terms of ROI, agencies need to break down each tactic so they can better optimize each component.

Dustin Hoyman
Dustin Hoyman is the Director of Growth at Outdoor Adventure Marketing, a specialized agency that generates a predictable flow of leads exclusively for tours and activities.


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