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Signs Your Agency is Slacking

Remember when you loved your media agency and just knew they loved you back? Maybe it started when they responded to your RFP or took you to lunch after a great pitch meeting. They told you that you were special. They had a million ideas to improve your performance and lower your investment, if you’d just sign here. And once you signed, it was still great…for a year. Maybe more.

But now you’re starting to wonder–or you flat-out know–your relationship changed, and you’re looking for signs your agency is slacking.

Five Ways to Tell Your Agency is Failing

  1. They’re complacent. It’s been said that complacency is the root of all RFPs. If your program seems to be stagnant and the recommendations to optimize based on performance, new advertising options or changes in your business have stopped, your account is probably on autopilot. “Set it and forget it” is not how media strategies should play out.
  2. They’re ghosting you. Can’t get a return call? Is your email going unanswered? If your agency is ghosting you, this is definitely a red flag that your agency, or at least your point of contact, is taking your business for granted. Revisit the service level agreement in your agency contract. Whether they’re failing repeatedly to meet the response times dictated, or if they’re simply lacking in professional etiquette, your agency is falling short.
  3. They’re running your campaigns poorly. Campaign strategy and management are complex. It’s likely one reason you’ve hired an agency. There are a myriad of constant considerations, checks, analyses, modifications and reporting, and that’s after the campaign is structured and set up correctly. If your agency is dropping the ball routinely at any stage(s), it’s probably costing you money and leads. For an example of what to watch for, refer to our handy infographic  17 Questions to Ask When You Think It’s Time to Hire a New Paid Search Agency.
  4. You’re finding mistakes for them. Mistakes happen. Humans and technology are both imperfect, so it’s understandable for the occasional agency error to pop up. If mistakes seem to be increasing and are being discovered by you, as the client, ask why. Understand if the agency team working your account has changed, if the execution has been outsourced to a new or different third-party vendor or if processes changed. Watch for patterns, and demand accountability.
  5. You’re only popular near the end of your contract. It’s amazing what contract renewals and budget season can do to rekindle interest. Agencies that have hit snooze on their clients tend to perk up when it’s time to ask for a renewal. This one ties directly to complacency. We hear it often from advertisers looking for a new agency.

What If It’s Not Just Them?

Before you start drafting a new agency RFP, take stock. Look at your team’s role in the relationship. At Mindstream Media, our most successful—and enjoyable—advertiser partnerships involve:

  • A collaborative disposition. Come to the table with your agency early and often, and if you have multiple agencies with interdependent action items and goals, bring them together.
  • Willingness to share data. Everything from customer and prospect lists to sales to current campaign access across channels makes the agency’s work better.
  • Follow-up. Just as your agency should respond quickly to requests, your own response and follow-through allows them to move swiftly to advance your goals.
  • Stable KPIs. Don’t move the goalpost on your agency. Agree to performance goals, and when your agency is hitting them, recognize it.
  • Follow-through. If you’ve committed to allowing direct communication to your locations, increasing budget for successful campaigns or expansion after successful testing (see Stable KPIs), don’t change the rules. Your agency has earned leads for you, and they’ve planned for further growth. Invest where you said you would, and trust your agency to do more.

If you’ve checked the boxes on your side of the partnership, and struggle with your agency’s complacency regardless, challenge them on their commitment. If the situation doesn’t improve immediately, it may be time to move on.


Ready to call it quits with your agency? Contact Mindstream Media to see what it’s like to feel the love, and crush the media game.