Valentine’s Day is near, a time for loved ones to celebrate the strength and beauty of their relationships. Although for many, it can be a sore reminder of failed relationships and painful breakups. Studies show more than 85 percent of American adults have experienced a breakup at least once in their lifetime.
When it comes to the world of marketing, it’s safe to assume that a breakup is something that EVERYONE on the agency and client sides have experienced at least once, if not multiple times, in their career. Advertisers and agencies are breaking up at an increased pace, and relationships are being reduced to months, sometimes years, but rarely decades as once was typical.
No matter how many breakups you’ve been through, they never get easier. Through my years of giving agencies and clients relationship advice I’ve seen many CMOs highlight extremely frustrating problems as reason for ending a relationship. Sadly, none of these scenarios have to be a reality – my hope is that you’re never on the receiving end of this kind of letter:
This letter—yes purely fictional and borderline irritable at times—is inspired from real stories and pain points between advertisers and agencies that I’ve witnessed over the years. For some, this letter might be a painful reminder. However, for most, I hope it highlights the many ways advertisers and agencies inadvertently create unproductive environments which undermine their relationships if those are not addressed proactively. Thankfully, many aspects of the client/agency relationship can be significantly improved by applying best client/agency practices, and yes, common sense. If we learn from the unnecessary breakups and poorly-managed relationships that are flooding our industry, we can instead build high-impact and lasting partnerships that flourish and get celebrated year after year.