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8 Reasons Why Your Marketing Agencies Lose Clients


Marketing agencies are a critical part of modern businesses that help businesses grow their clients' businesses. Many businesses work with marketing agencies to help their brand reach a bigger audience, increase website traffic, and drive sales. 

Running an agency business is not easy. Attracting and retaining clients takes a lot of time, effort, and resources. However, despite all the hard work and investment, marketing agencies often struggle with losing clients. 

It is common for marketing agencies to lose clients despite their best efforts. Losing a client can be frustrating and affect the agency's reputation and bottom line. 

As a data expert in marketing with over two decades of experience, I have seen clients switch marketing agencies rapidly. I will discuss eight reasons clients leave marketing agencies in this blog post.

Bad communication 🗣️

This is one of the most common reasons for client loss for agencies. A marketing agency failing to respond promptly to clients' inquiries will likely lose business. Clients want to feel heard and valued, and a lack of response can make them feel ignored. Moreover, if a client requests a report or detailed analysis, the agency must be willing to provide it. A lack of response can erode trust and eventually lead to business loss.

Good communication between a client and your agency is crucial. It ensures that the client's needs and expectations are met and builds a strong relationship between both parties. As an agency, it's essential to have open lines of communication with your clients, whether it's through email, phone calls, or meetings.

In my experience, having a weekly check, at least through email, is the bare minimum. It shows the client that you are proactive and engaged in their business and gives them a chance to voice any concerns or ask for updates. Additionally, providing regular reports and analysis can showcase your agency's value and keep clients informed about the progress of their campaigns.

Bad performance 📉

Marketing agencies that don't deliver results are also likely to lose clients. A marketing agency should be accountable for its planned strategy, tactics, and results. Clients invest their money in marketing agencies, hoping they can deliver the desired results. 

If a marketing agency fails to deliver on a promise, it can lead to the client's loss and develop negative reviews about the agency. 

The first thing to check is on Clutch. Clients can review agencies before they sign a contract on Clutch. Agencies can always keep the client feedback updated on Clutch to make sure everything is properly reflected with the latest information.

Make sure to read through and review the details; a lot of times, great reviews are usually tied to the agency's performance. Don't rely heavily on the success case section of the agency's website. There is never a case where the agency will highlight bad use cases.

Bad planning and not data-driven 🎲

In addition to delivering results, a successful marketing agency should prioritize data-driven strategies and planning. Without proper planning and analysis of data, an agency may waste its client's budget on ineffective tactics.

Agencies must thoroughly understand their client's target audience, industry trends, and competitors. This information can help create an effective strategy tailored to the client's goals and objectives. 

Moreover, data analysis should be an ongoing process throughout the campaign. This allows the agency to make necessary adjustments and optimizations to improve performance. So many agencies don't know how to use spreadsheets to build marketing plans with data.

Nowadays, anything digital-related marketing is measurable. It doesn't matter if it is a creative or branding agency; hold them accountable to some numbers that are meaningful to the business operations.

If you're on the agency side, ensure your employees are comfortable with numbers and at least able to work with spreadsheets. Data are abundant with marketing, so take advantage of it. Please contact me if you don't think you have the capability or lack experience.

The client switches to another agency 👋

Some clients may switch to another agency that they perceive to have better strategies for their companies. As a marketing agency, you must keep up-to-date with current trends, thoroughly understand your client's industry, and know what works best for them. Failure to keep up-to-date could cost you a client to your competition.

The reality is competing agencies are always putting our content, and it is reaching your client. If they have salespeople reaching out, you can assume your client is being contacted. 

It's important to stay updated with current trends and analyze what strategies are working well for your competitors and how you can incorporate them into your campaigns. This not only helps you stay ahead of the game but also allows you to provide valuable insights and recommendations to your clients.

Change in client's business priorities 🏃‍♂️

Corporate priorities are still changing based on changing business environments. A client might change its emphasis from marketing to research and development or production. As a result, the client may feel that they no longer need the services of a marketing agency.

I've seen B2B client change their volume-based lead generation strategy to enterprise-level account-based marketing. In that situation, the other agency that has positioned itself as an account-based marketing expert will win. These changes in priorities and strategies can often surprise agencies, but it's important to be adaptable and flexible to retain clients.

One way to prevent this is by regularly communicating with your clients and staying updated on any potential changes or shifts in their business goals. This allows you to adjust your strategies accordingly and continue providing value to your clients.

Change in client's management 👨‍💼👩‍💼

A change in management structure or leadership approach can also prompt the client to shift agencies. Some clients have long-term relationships with marketing agencies. However, once new management enters the scene, they may want to take a fresh approach and switch to a new agency.

Usually, new management on the client side comes with the following:

  • Changes in budget 
  • New and different marketing strategy or plan
  • A new team or marketing team member
  • The agency that new management has worked with in the past
  • Consolidation of agencies
  • Simplify processes
  • Bring marketing in-house

Employee churn 🚪

Another cause of marketing agency loss is employee churn. Some agencies have a high employee turnover rate, which creates instability and inconsistency in service delivery. As a result, clients have to deal with new team members constantly, which can be frustrating. Clients want a stable team with expertise, dedication, and experience in their industry.

Employee churn also happens on the client side. When there is a change in personnel within the client's marketing team, it can impact the relationship with the agency. This could be due to differences in communication styles, goals, or preferences.

As an agency, it's important to prioritize employee satisfaction and retention. This not only ensures consistency for clients but also helps build a positive company culture and reputation.

Competition 🏇

In today's fast-paced business world, competition is fierce. Clients are constantly looking for ways to stay ahead of their competitors and may need to switch agencies to get a fresh perspective or unique strategies.

 Additionally, new agencies are continuously emerging and offering innovative services that may attract clients away from their current agency.

To stay competitive, agencies must constantly evolve and offer unique value propositions to differentiate themselves in the market. This could include staying up-to-date with industry trends, investing in cutting-edge technology, or providing tailored solutions for each client's needs.

Marketing agencies must continuously innovate and provide value to clients. This includes staying updated on industry trends, conducting thorough research, and offering unique solutions that set them apart.

As an agency, always look out to comparable agencies and study what they're doing in marketing for their agency. 

Competing agencies are a great resource for ideas and inspiration. By observing their strategies, you can learn what works and what doesn't and adapt accordingly to stay ahead in the market.

Difficult to work with 😠

A marketing agency that is difficult to work with can also lose clients. Such a company may impose rigid policies or procedures, which may not necessarily align with the client's values. A marketing agency must be willing to be flexible and work with a client to achieve the right results.

I have seen a lead who has decided to go with another agency end up not liking the agency they went with. The reason was that it took the onboarding more than four months, and the advertising campaign did not start even after six months. That is a horrible experience for any client.

A marketing agency must prioritize and efficiently handle the onboarding process to ensure a smooth transition for the client. This includes discussing goals, setting expectations, and providing regular updates.

Also, client service quality matters a lot in client retention. A marketing agency must have a dedicated team to handle client inquiries, promptly respond to concerns, and provide excellent customer service.

In addition, a marketing agency must maintain transparency with its clients. This includes providing regular reports and updates on the progress of projects and being honest about any challenges or issues that may arise.

In Summary

Marketing agencies face a multitude of challenges and obstacles in retaining clients. These include lacking a clear understanding of clients' needs, failing to communicate effectively and consistently, and having a lackluster approach to customer service. However, by recognizing and addressing these issues, agencies can pave the way for long-lasting client relationships and achieve success. 

As we have explored in this blog post, it is crucial for agencies to continuously reflect on their strategies and adapt to changing market trends and client demands. With the right mindset and proactive measures, marketing agencies can build strong partnerships with their clients and maintain a competitive edge in the industry. 

So don't let your agency fall victim to these pitfalls; instead, take action now and implement some of the tips mentioned in this post. And if you want more valuable insights on marketing strategies, subscribe to my newsletter for regular updates. 

If you want to learn how to determine a good client for your marketing agency, check out my article!

Thank you for taking the time to read this post! Remember, success is about acquiring clients and keeping them satisfied for years to come. 

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Building An Agency - ZoomMetrix
I’ve been running a marketing agency as a COO, and I’m writing articles for specific to building a marketing agency. By sharing my experience, I hope that my it will inspire ideas and help avoid mistakes for those business leaders interested in building an agency. Even if you’re not an agency owner, I hope you can find something interesting from my experience that can add value in building your career as a marketer or as an entrepreneur.
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Kris Twitter

As a data journalist, I enjoy curating and analyzing marketing trends, and data. The things that fascinate me the most are the transforming business landscape due to evolving marketing technologies.