Dear Media Agencies – Stop Treating Clients Like Idiots


How many times have you seen (or given) a presentation from an agency that shows a LUMAscape like this?

Holy shit! Look at all those MarTech companies. Good luck thinking about all those companies, client.

Or how about a process chart that look like this?

As someone who has been on both sides of the table in these meetings, here’s some unsolicited advice to not treat your clients (or prospects) are little more than brainless cash machines who need the agency more than the agency needs them.

Stop sending an insane amount of agency people to the pitch meeting

You likely said to yourselves before the meeting, “Let’s show this prospect how much we care.” What you really said was, “We practically shut down work for all our current clients to pitch a prospective client. Also, our clients receive 1/50th of 25 people when we sign them on. Many of whom are bound to not work well together. Can we have money now?”

Get a sense of your client’s expertise level before you embarrass yourself

Have you ever had a recent college student try to explain how something works (incorrectly), but speak to you as if you were a child? So many agency reps like to start at what a cookie is when describing retargeting. We get it. It’s been around for a long time. But by all means, keep educating me…

Act like you care

Stand up to present to clients. Act like you’re asking to exchange your services for money, because that’s what you’re doing. You and the client are not equals as much as you’d like to be a “partner”.

Stop quoting bullshit growth statistics

Check it out, we grew web traffic by 1,539% in the first month! Clients realize that large percentages happen when you start from 0. Knock it off and stick to KPIs that matter.

Research the company before you pitch

What’s your success rate in job interviews when you show up and don’t have any clue what the hiring company does? Likely close to 0%. That’s about how it feels to the client when you spent all of 5 minutes clicking around their website before you showed up. If you don’t understand my business, how can you tell me how to market it?

Ask the client how they want this meeting to go and be flexible

You don’t like sitting through 50 slides, so why are you subjecting clients to it? More importantly, why did you spend THEIR MONEY building it?

Stop being scared to share bad news

Performance goes up and down. Just tell the client why it went down and what you’re doing about it. Don’t mask it in some metric that makes you look good despite the results.

Don’t think clients care about where they rank within your agency

I once saw a client presentation where the first slide showed the client they were 10th in media spend for the agency. They might as well have said, “Get to number one, and we’ll start doing a better job for you.”

Quit showing competitor spend levels thinking it will result in the client spending more

You know who wants to spend the minimum and get sales? The client’s finance team!

Don’t brag about the agency’s financial success, pimped-out office, our your luxury car to the client.

“Looks like it’s time to renegotiate our media management fee, Bob.”

Agencies, I hope you take some of this advice to heart. If so, I forecast your performance level will increase by ~1,500%.


Flywheel Demand Generation

Flywheel Demand