As a marketing executive, chances are you will run into some contracts. These contracts will either define work with a creative agency, a photographer, a vendor, a printer, and everything in between. If you hope to succeed as a marketing director of any kind, there are some important pieces of contractual language and clauses that you should get to know.
Scope of Work
One of the first things that should be determined for any party should be the scope of work. This clause defines exactly what you expect out of them and what they will accomplish for you, namely their deliverables. The scope should not be vague, but rather specific. That will protect both parties in the event of a dispute. Be prepared, the scope of work is often one of the more negotiated clauses of any contract, even a marketing one.
Change Request Clauses
Often, unforeseen changes in production needs or project directives happen. You will be able to protect your company as well as the other party by spending some time understanding the change request clause. This clause should outline how far in advance the other party needs to know about a change and you can be sure that they are not charging you unnecessarily for the change by negotiating a change order fee.
Sometimes partnerships do not work out and projects do not go as planned. It is important that you have taken the time to understand the termination clause of any given contract. Often outlining payment obligations as well as notice requirements for a cancellation, you want to make sure that you are protected from not being able to terminate a contract. It can also be a good idea to fully understand the provisions the other party has given themselves in terms of canceling the contract. Are they allowed to cancel without cause? Do they have to give you written notice?
If you are working with a photographer, freelance graphic designer, or a creative agency for your graphic and web design needs, it is crucial that you understand intellectual property. Spend some time learning how any assets that are created for your company will be handled. Does the IP ownership get transferred to your company or does it stay with the agency who designed it? Make sure that your company will be the owner of any graphic or web assets that are created on your behalf.
There are many other clauses that are included in a marketing-related contract; here are a few additional ones to watch out for. Confidentiality is essential to define so both parties understand how confidential information is to be handled as well as what qualifies as confidential information. Indemnification is a big word that refers to legal protection of one party by the other. For example, your company should be indemnified by a vendor in the case of a negligent act on their part. Insurance is another thing to check. Do you require vendors to hold professional insurance? Make sure it is in the contract.
Contracts do not always need to be intimidating legal documents if you can identify and understand the above key clauses. Don’t be scared to ask for clarification and be sure to read every paragraph in a marketing contract closely. With care, you can make sure that you are protecting the company and brand you represent as well as you can.