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Typing on a laptop image with a text over the image showing breaking up is hard

Breaking Up Is Hard – How To Terminate An Agency


Ted Greeley

How To Terminate An Agency In A Professional Manner

You’re feeling ignored, your calls aren’t returned, and things just aren’t the way you thought they’d be. But it’s not your love connection, it’s your marketing agency. There could be several reasons the relationship doesn’t work anymore; it’s not a good fit, your budget has changed, or you’ve outgrown them.

Whatever the reason, it’s not easy to break up with your agency. But it can be done, and doing it in a professional manner is the only way to go.

Whether you transition to a new team or decide to keep things in-house, here are four steps to doing it professionally.

Step one –Due Diligence

Start with reviewing the terms of your current agreement.

  • Does your termination notice need to be in writing or is a verbal notice acceptable?
  • Are you able to terminate some individual services, or does ending the agreement end all services?
  • Is the termination immediate, or required 30 days in advance?
  • Is there a fee for terminating the agreement?
Step Two – Consider a Conversation

Like any other relationship, good communication is key, and a candid conversation can work wonders. It may be that you can amend or alter the agreement, especially if you’re tied into a contract time period.

Budget – If cost is a factor, see if adjustments can be made in frequency or quantity of deliverables.

Performance issues – Were outcomes clear? Often a review of timelines and definition of services can clear up misunderstandings.

Response and attention – If you feel that you’re not receiving the attention your account deserves, define your expectations and how you perceive they were not met.

Quality – The content or results might not match what you were promised. Review your notes, emails, and contract for clarification, then find specific instances where the result did not measure up.

Now you have specific talking points, rather than a vague list of complaints.

Step Three – Time to Say Goodbye

If a conversation didn’t resolve things and you’ve decided to cancel your working agreement, it’s in the best interest of you and the agency to do it professionally. That starts with scheduling an in-person meeting or phone call.

Be Honest – State the reason for the cancellation and when it goes into effect.

Set Expectations – Don’t leave it up to the agency to define the terms of the transition. Clearly communicate your expectations.

Ease the Transition – If you are changing agencies, set up a call to introduce the new agency/manager. If things are returning in-house, introduce the team member that will be handling the work.

Step Four – Take the High Road

Breaking up can be emotional, even in business. Handling it in a professional manner means you’ve clearly discussed the reasons for terminating the agreement and your expectations during the transition. The best way to avoid any awkwardness is to keep the dialogue open with the outgoing agency and if they are unwilling to provide certain items ask them why. Unless they are truly acting punitively, reasonable requests should be honored.

Some things to help the transition go as smoothly as possible:

  • Try not to be vague or sugar coat the reasons for terminating the agreement.
  • Don’t threaten to withhold payments to the agency unless it is truly warranted.
  • Keep it as positive as possible, focusing on the transition and not rehashing old issues.

Choosing a marketing agency that understands your market, your voice, and your mission can seem like a daunting task. Find one that will openly discuss your needs and expectations including how to end an agreement if necessary.

If you’re not sure what questions to ask, MDT Marketing welcomes the opportunity to assist in auditing the efforts and giving a no strings attached point of view about your digital marketing needs. Call us today!