How Do You End a Relationship with Your Marketing Agency?

If only we lived in that perfect world people talk about. In that world, your company’s relationship with its marketing agency would last forever. Your agency would always know how to tell your company’s ever-changing story. The agency would always know where to find your ever-changing ideal audience.

But in the real world, as we all know, even the best business relationships will end eventually. Your current marketing agency — though it helped you find your current level of success — might not be able to propel your company to its next goal.

In short, you may need to change agencies. Here’s how to go about it.

Be Honest

If you’re still reading, you may be questioning whether your current marketing agency can deliver for your company going forward. You may be seeing more and more evidence that you’ll need to make a change soon.

What should you do first?

That’s easy: Tell your current marketing agency. They should be the first to know what you’re thinking:

  • Schedule a meeting. 
  • Be specific about your concerns. 
  • Bring some specific examples to the table if you can. 
  • Be specific about your goals and how they’ve changed.
  • Be honest.

It’s possible your agency already has the tools your company needs. The agency may have untapped resources you didn’t know about. By bringing up your concerns, you’re giving your agency a chance to step up its game and deliver for your company’s future.

But, you might ask, why wasn’t the agency already stepping up? That’s a fair question. Maybe because it didn’t know what you needed. Your honesty in sharing your concerns might be just what you need to jump start a new era in your relationship with your agency — without having to start all over with a new agency.

That said, sometimes you really have outgrown your marketing agency, and it’s time to move on. If that’s where you are, keep reading.

Plan Ahead

Over time, your business has likely grown intertwined with your marketing agency. Your employees interact with the agency’s staff about routine, day-to-day decisions. The agency’s staff might host your website or operate your social media accounts on your behalf. Its staff might forward inbound sales leads or broker great deals on media buys.

It’ll take some time to disengage from this kind of relationship. Be patient with the process.

If you’re not sure the extent to which your company and its marketing agency intertwined, spend a month collecting data. Ask your staff members to log each time they connect with your agency. The log can be a shared file or just a pen-and-paper list.

Within a month, you’ll start to see trends emerge. You’ll know which employees depend on the agency’s staff, and you’ll have a better idea which accounts and assets you’ll need to regain control over before the relationship ends.

Your current agency can help with this too. Chances are, your agency will have its own end-of-relationship process, and it may know of connections your staff members don’t know about.

Take Your Time

Do you have campaigns underway? Are you in the middle of an expansion?

If so, “today” may not be the best day to change agencies. Like any transition, your agency change will require intentional timing.

Overlapping services from two different agencies helps some companies phase gradually into a new marketing agency relationship. Most professional agencies are accustomed to making these transitions as seamless as possible.

Even the agency you’re cutting ties with still wants what’s best for your company going forward. It should continue focusing on your needs even as it prepares to stop providing your needs.

That’s certainly our philosophy at 3Fold Digital.

If, for some reason, you don’t believe your current agency has your company’s best interest in focus, it’s OK to remind the agency about your expectations.

Know the Golden Rule of Marketing Relationships

Ultimately, relationships with marketing agencies are like any other kind of relationship in life. Honesty and patience — along with making your expectations known — go a long way.

So treat your agency, whether you’re ending or starting a relationship, the way you’d like to be treated. Expect your agency to do the same.

If you’d like to know more about digital marketing and how it can help your company grow, we’d love to hear from you.

Nathan Woehr


Nathan works with Alex to maintain our servers and websites. He monitors sites for problems, backs up website data, and updates software to keep everything running smoothly and safely. He also builds some of our smaller websites. A Computer Engineering grad, Nathan enjoys programming & robotics on the side.

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Alex Woehr

Lead Developer

Need your site to handle a complex database, do tricks when you hover your mouse over a graphic, or go where no widget has gone before? Alex, our resident Code Jedi, explores the realm of tech possibilities. If a solution doesn’t already exist, he’ll build you a custom one.

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Will Haltiwanger

Account Coordinator

Will loves connecting with others in a way that truly understands who they are, where they are coming from, and where they wish to be going. As the Account Coordinator at 3Fold, he embodies this through his work in client services, ensuring that your needs are received, communicated, executed, and delivered in full, all while striving to build effective partnerships along the way.

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Mika Hearn

Digital Manager

With over eleven years of agency experience, Mika has worn many hats, including digital marketer, web strategist, and front-end developer. Mika uses her broad experience and interdisciplinary approach towards problem solving to arrive at successful solutions.

Mika is driven by a strong desire to deliver the best results and experience to clients, and to help move the needle forward on their endeavors.

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Ken Ratcliffe

Executive Creative Director

Ken’s been a creative director on three continents. He’s reported to everyone from author/CCO James Patterson to ad guru David Droga to comedian Jimmy Kimmel. While he’s done the whole “sitting-on-the-beach-in-Cannes” award thing, his real focus is on moving the needle, and he’s done that for some of the biggest brands in the world.

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Gustavo Nieves

Principal & COO

Gustavo is a serial entrepreneur and an accounting and operations specialist. Since 2006, Gustavo has owned companies in the IT, web, advertising, accounting, tax, and food service industries. At 3Fold, Gustavo oversees operations, finance, and accounting.

In his spare time, Gustavo serves on the board of directors for Community Works Carolina and the Sigal Music Museum and volunteers with the SC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

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Rommel Acosta

Operations Assistant

Driven by keeping things organized and watching projects develop, Rommel takes pride in managing projects that will benefit others. As the Operations Assistant, his goals include delivering on time and keeping the production team united during the process. While knowing the client’s expectations, Rommel makes sure communication is clear and resources are available for production.

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Josh McCarnan

Agency Director

Josh brings decades of experience to 3Fold’s leadership team. For more than 20 years, Josh has combined creative and strategic thinking, helping for-profit and non-profit organizations find their audiences and tell their stories with clarity. 

At 3Fold, Josh leads a team that excels at learning a client’s needs, understanding why the client is stuck, and helping create solutions that shepherd sustained growth.

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