Is It Time To Fire Your Online Marketing Agency?

Are you paying a lot of money to have your online marketing campaigns managed by a professional?

If you're getting awesome results and stellar service, awesome! But for many businesses out there, that isn't the case. This is a GREAT post describing several reasons people are frustrated with their agency relationship.

As someone who worked at a top agency early in my career, I've seen firsthand how agency-client relationships can go awry.

I'm not 'anti agency' but I do believe there are a large percentage of small businesses that would be better off managing the campaigns themselves.


It is impossible to replace your subject matter expertise with someone else's interpretation of it. No one understands your business like you do. On top of that, you may have a strict budget for how much you can spend on channels like SEO & PPC.

is an agency right for your business?

When does it make sense to hire an agency?

Hiring an agency may make sense if you're:

  • Short on time
  • Lack the passion to learn basic online marketing skills
  • Need quick results

There is a benefit to working with agency: the agency you chose hopefully works with similar businesses to you. They should have learned some lessons on what works well and doesn't work well in your space.

But let's say you are working with an agency, and are wondering if there is a better partner/solution for you...

Here are 4 big warning signs to watch out for:

  1. Lack of Transparency on Core Metrics
    When you hired your marketing professional, you should have outlined key performance indicators (KPIs) like organic traffic, leads, and revenue that your are looking to hit as a result of working with them. If the marketing professional you selected starts hiding these metrics or switches focus to vanity stats, it's a huge red flag. They may be hiding a lack of progress rather than having an honest conversation about next steps and/or how you are going to achieve your goals. Trust is key!
  2. Poor Communication
    Being a small fish at a big agency often means fighting for basic responses. If calls and emails consistently go unanswered despite an agreed cadence, it shows you're not being valued as a client. Great communication is vital for any productive relationship. Now with that said, if you signed up for something like a monthly report, 1-hour of phone calls, and 1-hour of email correspondence per month, don't expect to be able to talk whenever you want with them. (I had clients in my agency days where they signed up for a basic online marketing package but wanted to talk for 2+ hours/ thanks!)
  3. Constant Account Rep Turnover
    Having the same point person is crucial for accountability and context. If you're being passed to new reps every few months due to high employee turnover, it might indicate an unstable company culture. This can hurt your momentum and create a lot of hiccups along the way as you bounce from account rep to account rep (not fun having to explain what your business does to a different account rep over and over again!)
  4. Not Staying Up to Date on Trends
    Online marketing changes... almost daily. If your agency contact is clueless about major platform updates or new tactics, how can they keep your brand competitive? If you pick up on a pattern, where you ask about things you heard in the news or social media, and your account rep doesn't know what you are talking about... watch out!


While agencies can be a big asset in some cases, businesses often underestimate their ability to drive successful online marketing themselves with the right guidance.

If you're experiencing any of these four red flags, it may be time re-evaluate keeping your marketing efforts in-house or finding a more transparent, communicative, and knowledgeable partner!

To help get you started on this journey managing your marketing campaigns yourself, make sure to grab my free 7-day online marketing jumpstart PDF.

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