Why us?

Here's the answer.

We don't need to be in advertising and marketing.

We want to be.

What does that mean?

Before considering the formation of The Wagner Agency, we took into consideration that there are nearly fourteen thousand advertising agencies throughout the United States alone.

Can you imagine?

Who needs that many advertising agencies or marketing agencies?

Most of them seem to overpromise and underdeliver or are filled with “yes” types and “order-takers” ready to do whatever they believe will please their clients. Other agencies do the “bait and switch.” The big players come to the pitch to impress you and once they are awarded the business, a bunch of recent college graduates with no real-world experience is assigned to your account with little to no support. How do we know this? We’ve briefly worked at some of those agency examples before.

There are nearly fourteen thousand advertising agencies throughout the United States alone.

The notion of adding one more agency to the industry was not what inspired us to form this agency. When working with startups still formulating their ideas, we always advise them to build companies that solve important problems for which a great solution is not yet available and help make the world a better place at the same time. So, we took our own advice and carefully observed what was missing in the industry and causing clients to distrust agencies. We started with tearing up the old ad agency playbook and this is what we came up with:

  • Planning doesn't just happen. We invest in it.

    Our planners invest in consumer insight, trend analysis, neuromarketing, social anthropology, and human behavior analyses on an ongoing basis. We’re prepared with the insight our clients need before they even have to ask.

  • We're futurists.

    And that's great but also grounded by the reality and significance of what happens tomorrow and if it has relevance to our client's goals and objectives.

  • Our measure of success goes deep.

    We don't limit ourselves by what our data analytics tell us on the surface. Our metrics include data shared by our clients because goals, objectives, and key performance indicators (KPIs) have not been achieved until they impact our clients’ bottom line.

  • Being a "client partner" is an overused buzzword.

    We also provide business consulting to our clients because you are not a client’s partner until you roll up your sleeves and support them from the inside out. That may include product/service development, talent recruitment, staff training, and fixing productivity bottlenecks.

Our decades of experience taught us that today’s client requires more than a creative and strategic agency, focused on the final delivery of a project. With growing competition in practically every industry, clients need an agency that they can trust enough to operate as their business consulting partner.

It’s not enough for an agency to provide analytics and results solely from their dashboards and call it a day. Real conversions occur when a lead demonstrates closing potential, and they ultimately grow into a loyal customer to our clients and brand advocates to the public.

Anyone can service manage an account.

We get involved in the entire operation.

Are we creative and innovative? Of course, we are.

Do we have experience planning, purchasing, and managing all types of media? Absolutely.

What makes our agency stand out is its dedication to “getting it right” every time. A great building requires a strong foundation. That’s why considerable time and planning go into the start of everything we do. 

Some frequently asked questions.

What to expect from an Agency of Record relationship (AOR).

Many compare the AOR relationship to that of a full in-house marketing department without the payroll attached to that. These relationships are long-term and ideal for businesses and brands that need bigger strategic thinking and creative execution to fulfill long-term business goals.

Unlike project-based relationships where the agency or freelancer is only engaged from time to time when the client has a specific need such as design, SEO, website development, etc., the AOR relationship allows our clients to instantly tap into the resources of our highly experienced and skilled team without having to build one themselves. Additionally, our agency is researching on an ongoing basis, proactively working on strategies and ideas to move our clients forward, available for calls and meetings, and giving AOR clients priority handling and project pricing.

The long-term AOR relationship allows an agency like ours to become very familiar with your business and brand, unique challenges, industry trends, and competitive landscape. By being retained for a long-term engagement, our agency is able to fully invest in your business and brand by adding new tools and resources and additional support staff who are dedicated to your account.

We’re also “on-call” for any immediate needs, seven days a week and almost around the clock. As an AOR client, you can expect quick turnaround times and enjoy some “line-skipping” in terms of when requests can be fulfilled versus project-based clients.

Some of the many benefits of having an AOR.
Predictable Costs
You know what to expect on your invoice every month. This allows for better budgeting and forecasting. It also grants the flexibility to amortize short-term marketing campaigns over longer periods of time.  
Priority Service
You can expect special treatment including “line jumping” when requests are made. We will always make special accommodations for our AOR clients in our production schedule by shuffling other projects around if necessary. We are also able to reserve and set aside an allotted amount of resources every month.  
Front of Mind
Even more important than being in the front of the line is being “front of mind.” Instead of being order takers awaiting our next request, we are internally coming up with new ideas through such workshops as our Idea Lab.  
Better Value
Our AOR clients receive discounted prices on all projects and unless there is a monthly trend of us significantly exceeding resources and hours, we will never charge more for the extra time and resources we may use from time to time. In fact, it is one of our policies to not require timesheets or track time on work.   And perhaps more valuable than the financial benefits, we are invested in acquiring as much information and key insight as necessary to have a deep understanding of your business and be able to provide stronger and quicker services as a result. As the relationship continues to grow, so does efficiency.  
Bus Proof
Without an AOR relationship, marketing decisions in smaller businesses usually fall on one person. If that person leaves, gets sick,  goes on vacation, or gets hit by a bus, everything stops. However, by retaining an agency such as ours, we have the knowledge and experience to jump in and keep everything running without that person. But we really hope that she/he does not get hit by a bus.  
What does a "value-based" retainer mean?

The monthly retainer associated with our agency services is value-based as opposed to being cost-based. What’s the difference? Cost-based retainers are based on a maximum number of hours provided within the block of retainer time. To simplify, it’s a trade of time for money. In contrast, a value-based retainer is based on a set of deliverables that are aligned with the goals and objectives of our clients and the value we provide. Instead of selling billable hours of our time, we deliver a consistently high level of value that is aimed at meeting and exceeding established goals and objectives.

As a matter of principle, we believe that our agency’s role is to support its clients in driving growth and realizing multiple successes. We solve problems, tackle challenges, and act as an arm of their businesses. We don’t believe in selling hours and our clients are not interested in purchasing them. The work we produce in partnership with our clients is not limited by our expenditure of hours in a day. If our relationship evolves such that more of our time, attention, and resources are needed, we are happy to discuss alternative monthly retainer options at that time.

You’ll never receive a surprise invoice from us and the consistency of our value-based monthly retainer helps you in managing your annual budget.

Could you benefit from an agency like ours?

Let's discuss your current goals and objectives and discover how to best support your needs.

Us Versus The Others

If you read a bit about our story at the top of this page, then you already understand that we didn’t start this agency to be like every other agency out there.

We knew that several important areas were being poorly managed or abandoned altogether in our industry. So we set out to create a different type of agency and we challenge you to find another that compares and is superior to ours “apples to apples.”

The Wagner Agency

The President and upper management are always involved. We never pass anything down because everyone who works here came with at least 5-10 years prior experience.

$1K is our monthly minimum.

Right above this section you will find some detailed information on qhat to expect from the AOR relationship with us and a list of some of the many benefits. Among the list our AOR clients receive greater billing consistency for their budget, fewer unplanned surprises, and fewer estimates to quote and get approved.

We loosely base our monthly retainers and out-of-scope projects on an estimated number of hours that will be used for the monthly work or project. Our blended hourly rate is a competitive $150 per hour. However, our pricing is mostly value-based as opposed to pre-paid hours like other agencies. Our fees represent the experience and value we deliver balanced with an estimation of hours. This is because our clients selected us because they recognize the value that brings and the decades of experience we have. It's difficult to put a price on that. If a company is simply searching for the cheapest option out there, we're happy to refer them to those agencies.

For us, it's generally not a consideration we make because of jamming up our production which affects our long-term clients, and because we do our best work when we are deeply involved in our clients' businesses and are working toward long-term visions. It's never about the money for us.

As a practice and matter of policy, we do not believe in selling hours to our clients. In fact, we are not salespeople. Our job is to provide solutions that are measurable and result in business growth.

That means that TWA staff members do not have to track time or complete timesheets. As a result, the team is working on doing the best work they can without having to look at the clock and stop before they feel it's suitable for client presentation.

There are certainly pros and cons to this practice. The pros for our clients are clear and the cons for us are related to how risk-averse we are to the potential of being in the red if we're not careful. Since we don't produce change orders, our solution is to speak with our clients about the increase in hours if it becomes a steady trend upward. Then we discuss the matter and mutually agree to an increased retainer amount that is equitable. And should the increase be temporary, we are not opposed to returning to the previous amount.

With us it's simple. If you're our client at any financial level, you're automatically a priority. We will answer your calls, texts, emails, at any time. Full stop.

Secondary data research, analysis, and insight are included in your retainer. Only primary research studies require cost estimates.

The Others

The owners and upper management are most visible when you are a prospect or a new client. Afterward, your account is passed on to a less experienced team all the way down to a mix of interns and recent college grads depending on your budget.

Comparable agencies with our size and experience won't take your business unless you agree to a monthly retainer of at least $15K-$20K.

Within those monthly retainers, those agencies will only include account and project management, ad budget control, meetings/calls/emails, monthly reporting of analytics, project statuses, and wins. Anything else requires a separate cost estimate which is discounted for retainer clients.

The monthly retainer is based on an assumed amount of billable hours to be used in any given month. Some agencies will present different hourly rates depending on the employee and others will do what is called a "blended rate" which is an agency average of all the individual billable rates.

Many comparable agency competitors will not even consider one-offs or project-based clients. Partly because of revenue/profit as well as the fact that these short-term projects are usually not well thought out by the clients and jam up production for the other retainer clients who pay more and have long-term goals and objectives. So that's not fair to them.

If the client is approaching their allotment of hours for any given month and that retainer is reaching its end before the month is up, the agency will contact the client to see if they wish to purchase more hours. However, we hear often that many agencies will just bill their clients the overage in hours as a "surprise" change order. Obviously, this produces an unwelcomed client response.

Most recently it has become common practice for agencies to provide cell phone numbers for after-hours communications when previously this was not a consideration. However, your ability to reach someone after normal business hours has to do with how much of a priority you are at the agency (usually factored by what you spend) and whether or not you are looking to speak to a senior management person. If you reach someone that will take your call, it will likely be that 24-25 year old that's new to the agency. Unless you're spending at least $1M annually with that agency, you can forget being able to reach anyone more senior.

Other agencies will set up some Google Alerts and do very basic "research" on your industry and competitive threats unless you pay extra for those services.