While most advertising agencies avoid talking about one particular topic, it’s our favorite subject here at Wingman. We’re talking about pay-per-performance compensation, and not only don’t we mind when it comes up in conversation, but we actually love talking about it. Read on for a rundown of why pay-per-performance makes smart sense for us and for our clients.

Look at it This Way

We hate to kick an entire profession when it’s down, but consider lawyers. Right or wrong, they consistently hold a place among the world’s least trusted professionals. (In fact, the words “scourge of the universe” just might come to mind.)


One of the primary reasons why lawyers are so loathed? Because the majority of them bill by the hour — regardless of whether or not they win cases.  In other words, they still get paid, even if they fail to deliver results.


Meanwhile, some rare lawyers work on a contingency basis through which they only get paid if they win. These are the lawyers we want in our corner. What about you?


All of which begs the question: Why wouldn’t you seek out the same from your advertising agency? In an industry in which results are quantifiable, absolving your ad agency of accountability is just bad business.


Now imagine asking every person you work with one basic question: “Are you willing to work on performance?” In fact, we ask this question of every vendor who pitches to us. Why? Because it establishes credibility….or lack thereof. If they say “no,” we’re looking at empty promises. If they say “yes,” we know they’ve got a delivery mindset. And that’s what makes our pay-per-performance compensation model the superior choice.


Why Pay-Per-Performance Works

Of course, the hourly (AKA “time and materials”) model is only one of standard compensation models used by agencies. And while project fee, percentage of media, and retainer fee models each have their unique selling points, they ultimately share the same fatal flaw: none of them are tied to results.


The need for accountability is further exemplified by the fact that 78 percent of the world’s CEOs believe that today’s advertising and media agencies aren’t performance-driven enough and fail to focus on how to generate quantifiable results. As it turns out, the joke’s on them. Why? Because they’re the ones choosing to work with agencies which employ less results-based compensation models as a failsafe for dodging the challenging work of identifying and delivering actual metrics. We not only can’t get away with that here at Wingman, but our entire business model is built around being held to results.


We’d be remiss in not acknowledging that we did hedge our bets when deciding on a pay-per-performance model. For starters, we only work in market segments with which we’re extremely familiar, and in which we’ve extensively tested our ideas, strategies and tactics. (We’re looking at you, considered purchases for the home industry.) In other words, we know the territory.


Equally important? Our ability to tie client sales data with agency campaign data. We understand how to show what’s working and what’s not, and our rigorous ongoing testing allows us to swiftly take targeted corrective action. We also work closely with our clients to set hard and soft benchmarks across multiple measures to ensure that our goals are aligned.


All of this also means that if we know we can’t get results for you, we won’t take you on as a client. Why not? Because doing so benefits neither of us. This also means that we never learn on your dime.


As you can imagine, working for free is not part of our business strategies. Which brings us to one of the best things about this compensation model. We want amazing results just as much as our clients do, making the pay-for-performance a win-win.