Tag: how to fire your ad agency


Like every agency owner or president, I am on the hunt for new business. To be hired, generally another company has to be fired. Or do they? You would think I should be writing an article on “How to fire your ad agency’ rather than an article on why not to.

First, I am going to tell you why you should hire our company and then I am going to tell you why you should not fire your agency.

LowerWorks is a diverse company. I am in Montreal, run the company, am the Creative Director, co- Strategic Planner and lead writer. My co-Strategic Planner partner and Account Director is in Toronto, my go-to programmer is in Estonia (Skype is his biggest client), I have graphic designers in New York, Budapest, Ottawa and Toronto, my media planner is in Toronto and my back-end web people are in India. The one thing I do keep close at hand is accounting; people who understand both US and Canadian accounting practices and laws. Call me silly.

What I look for in people is that they be smarter than most, self-motivated, have a passion for what they do and the talent to bring that passion to an exciting reality. And besides looking at how creative and inventive they have been, I ask about results. What did your work accomplish?

We are a quick study and are each known to have helped solve tough problems for both large and small companies.

In short, the world is our company. It helps us deliver quality work at competitive prices. And yes, we use Skype a lot. We do smart, outstanding work. That, in a nutshell, is why you should consider hiring us.

Does hiring us mean firing your agency? The motivation for firing an agency can come from a multitude of reasons. Quality of the work. Servicing issues. Billing issues. Media issues. Almost anything.

But think twice about firing your agency to hire us or anyone else for that matter.

Here are five reasons why you should not fire your agency.

  1. It will be incredibly disruptive to you. There are always projects on the go. Is there a time when all the on-going projects will be completed all at the same time before the next batch begins? Probably not. Getting a new team to pick up in the middle of an on-going project is going to place incredible strains on your team. That is, unless you have people sitting around with not much to do. In today’s business world? I think not.
  2. Your accounting department could have a nightmare on their hands. Your contract will surely identify responsibilities in such an event but that won’t make it any easier. And every invoice from the fired agency will have to be doubly scrutinized. They (rightly so) will want to make certain they don’t leave a nickel on the table. That may lead to surprise invoices and suspicions which could further sour the relationship.
  3. You could have the right agency but the wrong people. It happens. You may need fresh thinking but does that mean you need to fire the agency to get it? Could be just a switch in team members on the agency’s side could help. It could also be that the problem with the agency is systemic which requires a bigger fix on their end and it takes more time. Still, if you’ve had a long-standing relationship, you might be concerned about a switch. It falls into the ‘devil you know’ category.
  4. Your involvement with the agency may go beyond a typical client-agency relationship. I know of one instance where the agency Chair person was on the client’s Board of Directors. The people on the client side resented working with the agency because they felt (perhaps rightly so) that the agency took them for granted. Firing the agency would require Board approval and with the head of the agency on the Board, it would make for an incredibly awkward, divisive and uncomfortable situation.
  5. A new agency search is an incredibly timely and costly procedure. And with it comes with considerable risk. In a worst-case scenario, a mistake can lead to loss of market share, stock price devaluation, and also provide a fertile hunting ground for head hunters trying to steal your best talent.

Many large companies such as IBM keep more than one agency on their roster. Some keep many. Last I heard, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) had six agencies. The theory behind that? Prevent as many good agencies as possible from working for the RBC’s competitors due to conflict of interest. Just because they have an agency on their roster doesn’t mean they have to give that agency a lot of assignments. Clever.

But what about small and medium sized companies? They too should consider having an alternate team at their disposal. Give the new agency your problem child…that tough assignment that has proven difficult to solve. And if you’re really annoyed with your current agency and want to send a strong signal, give your secondary agency a plumb assignment and let your Agency of Record plow through some of the less glamorous work.

The way to quickly improve issues with your current agency is by putting them on notice by giving assignments to another communications resource. I can assure you that a company such as ours, would bend over backwards to do work intended to impress and have you move all your business to us. Any company would. I am not unique in that drive.

If I were in your agency’s shoes and knew you were giving an assignment or assignments to an outside resource I would pull out all the stops to service your business beyond expectations. I would go into damage control on hyperdrive.

Regardless, think twice about firing your agency. Instead, look to having a second resource at your disposal.

And talk about coincidences. Here you are possibly looking for an agency and damn if we’re not looking for clients. Let’s talk.

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