When businesses hire an agency, it’s an exciting time for both. Ideas are flowing and motivation is high — but when months pass and the results aren’t happening as you’d hoped, you might be faced with the difficult decision to let your agency go. You’re about to make a very hard choice, and we’re sorry to hear it. In this article we will help you identify some of the warning signs indicating it may be time to end an agency partnership, and suggest how to fire your agency the right way.
Any agency relationship should be geared towards fulfilling a long-term strategy. Before you make the decision to part ways, keep in mind that mistakes can often be fixed through open and honest discussions. Have you set crystal clear expectations? Does the agency have access to the tools they need to succeed?
It should not be a surprise to your agency that they are being let go. If it’s a surprise, then something is lacking in your communication. However, there are instances when the relationship is not a good fit. Here are some clear signs that it’s time to fire your agency:
- The agency hasn’t taken the time and made the investment into understanding the unique features and nuances of your business. They aren’t interested in learning about your clients/customers.
- They don’t demonstrate a clear understanding of your needs and the mandate.
- Communication is poor. Are you a priority? Does your agency communicate at all stages of a project in a timely way?
- There is a lack of process or methodology: poor organization, undefined or changing budgets, no set timelines for deliverables, or unclear responsibilities.
- Lack of understanding of the project – A creative brief helps define objectives at the outset, before any work is undertaken.
- The tone and style of the content they produce don’t sound or look like your brand. This is an indication that your agency doesn’t understand you and/or is not adhering to your visual identity standards.
- Deadlines are slipping.
- They overpromise and underdeliver.
- No one at your business is excited about the agency’s work.
What’s the best way to let your agency go?
- Review contractual obligations
- Have an honest conversation. Give them clear and specific feedback as to why you’re ending the collaboration.
- Make sure the decision to end the partnership is supported by all of your decision-makers.
- Plan when and how to end current projects.
- Set terms for potentially returning, if that’s a possibility.
- Plan how internal resources can assume the work the agency has been doing.
Starting over with a new agency may seem daunting, but ideally you will have learned a great deal through your unsuccessful partnership and will have a clearer picture of what you want in the next one.