Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Marketing Agency Exposed Podcast

Nov 10, 2023

Navigating the promises and pitfalls of the agency-client relationship. Discover strategies for aligning expectations, establishing boundaries, and crafting clarity around goals, metrics, and shared vision. The key to success? Honest communication, mutual understanding, and a relationship built on trust and partnership.


In this week's episode, the guys delve into the nuances of managing client expectations and optimizing the agency-client relationship. Bob kicks things off by highlighting the disconnect that can occur when clients request general awareness and agencies deliver specific metrics. Ken emphasizes that agencies can only control their expertise, not guaranteed outcomes, since external factors also influence results. Brad shares an example where a client disregarded research recommendations, then blamed the agency when their gut instinct didn't pan out. Bob advocates for an immersion day to align on goals and strategy before engagement. Ken argues that clients should view agencies more like employees, carefully vetting values and vision. He notes that in successful past relationships, mutual philosophy and respect were key. Brad stresses empathy for clients' high-stakes position while hiring agencies. Bob recommends using tools like HumanIK to analyze clients' psychological profiles and craft tailored communication. In closing, the guys encourage honest, ongoing dialogue to establish shared expectations and boundaries. Keeping clients' ultimate aims top of mind, whether fame or fortune, can help agencies LEAD expectations by forging trust, partnership and clarity.

Top 3 Curtain Pulls in this episode:

  1. Agencies: Guide, Don't Guarantee. Agencies should view themselves as experts and guides, not miracle workers promising guaranteed outcomes. While skilled advisors can absolutely influence results, many external factors also contribute to an agency's impact. Establish reasonable expectations by being upfront about what your expertise can and cannot control. Guide clients to success without overpromising uncontrollable results.

  2. Clients: Seek Shared Values, Not Just Skills. When hiring an agency, look beyond just skills to carefully assess if their values, vision and problem-solving philosophy align with yours, as you would with a new employee. Shared principles and mutual respect create the foundation for successful relationships, not just temporary wins. Avoid viewing agencies as interchangeable vendors to be swapped out. Seek out an agency that is a true fit.

  3. Both: Define Success in Their Language. Switchtracking wastes time and fractures trust. Make sure you're speaking the same language when defining goals and metrics for success. Agencies: Interpret marketing-speak into practical business aims clients care about. Clients: Articulate your ultimate definitions of victory. Laser focus on shared communication pays dividends.

For more tips, discussion, and behind the scenes:

About The Guys:

Bob Hutchins: Founder of BuzzPlant, a digital agency that he ran from 2000-2017. He is also the author of 3 books. More on Bob:


Brad Ayres: Founder of Anthem Republic, an award-winning ad agency. Brad’s knowledge has led some of the biggest brands in the world. Originally from Detroit, Brad is an OG in the ad agency world and has the wisdom and scars to prove it. Currently that knowledge is being applied to his boutique agency. More on Brad:


Ken Ott: Co-Founder and Chief Growth Rebel of Metacake, an Ecommerce Growth Team for some of the world’s most influential brands with a mission to Grow Brands That Matter. Ken is also an author, speaker, and was nominated for an Emmy for his acting on the Metacake Youtube Channel (not really). More on Ken:

Show Highlights:

[1:42] Brad introduces the topic of managing client expectations around results when working with agencies.

[3:18] Ken discusses how agencies can only control their expertise, not guarantee outcomes.

[5:39] Brad shares an example where a client disregarded research recommendations, then blamed the agency when it didn't work.

[8:20] Ken argues clients should view agencies like employees, carefully vetting values and vision.

[11:37] Brad stresses empathy for clients' high-stakes position while hiring agencies.

[17:47] Brad highlights the difference between what clients say and what they actually want.

[22:11] Ken emphasizes the importance of mutual philosophy and respect in successful agency-client relationships.

[28:55] Bob advocates for defining perfect customer criteria to evaluate fit.

[32:13] Brad discusses the high-risk stakes for clients hiring agencies.

[33:40] Ken compares hiring an agency to hiring an employee.

[38:38] Bob recommends using HumanIK to analyze clients' communication styles.

[41:16] Brad suggests identifying red flags early to navigate new client relationships.

[42:36] Bob reminds listeners to like, subscribe and check out the new 3-camera format on YouTube.