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Things not going well with your ad agency?

Has it been a while since you’ve gotten any killer ideas from your agency? Is the creative they give you an echo of the suggestions you gave them? Do you feel like they’re not giving you their best?

You can do something about it.

Give your agency a report card.

Everyone that works for someone wants to know how he or she is doing. Agency folks are no exception. Get together with them regularly to talk about how things are going. They’ll get a better understanding of your wants and needs, and that will pay off handsomely.

Let them into your world.

Believe it or not, your agency team is interested in your company’s welfare. They want to know if what they have done for you has moved the needle.

Fresh blood may reinvigorate things.

Has your point person gotten involved with another account that’s getting his or her best? If your primary contact isn’t returning your calls or emails quickly or sending you questions or suggestions regularly, find out why. You deserve someone who is excited about your business. Maybe it’s someone older; maybe younger. Or simply someone different to bring a fresh perspective to your challenges. Remember, he or she is — or should be — your advocate inside the agency. If it isn’t working, ask for a change.

Money’s important.

Clients assume all agencies and agency people make money hand over fist. Not true. Not these days. But they are entitled to a profit and the ability to pay bonuses to those who go above and beyond to make a difference for their clients. Audit your bills. Make sure you get charged correctly. But don’t nickel-and-dime on every invoice. You don’t want your agency to think you’re more interested in cost than value.

It’s not over ’til it’s over.

Before you dump your agency — and all the institutional knowledge that can take years to learn — call the team in and have an explicit conversation. Tell them you feel like you need a change, and it’s either gonna come from them or you’re gonna do a search. Nothing gets an agency’s attention like the threat of a search. Offer them a chance to prove they are the right choice before you send out an RFP. The candor and class of allowing them to prove themselves instead of going directly into a search will pay dividends in loyalty and respect, to say nothing of the avoidance of the chaos and lost time of a search — which, by the way, offers no guarantee of success.

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