CMOs Highlight Extremely Frustrating Problems as Reason for Ending a Relationship

The Breakup Letter:

Studies show more than 85 percent of American adults have experienced a breakup at least once in their lifetime. Nothing like uncertainty – as we are now experiencing with the health crisis – to yield greater tension and doubts in our personal and professional lives. Nothing like heightened budget pressure and higher expectations to make advertisers reexamine how existing partnerships still fit given shifting priorities.

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—is inspired by 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 chaotic and unproductive environments which undermine their relationships if those are not addressed jointly and proactively.

Thankfully, many aspects of the client/agency relationship can be significantly improved by applying best-in-class client/agency practices, and yes, respect and common sense. If we learned anything from the increased number of breakups and poorly-managed relationships that are flooding our industry, it’s that as leaders it’s up to us to build high-impact and lasting partnerships that flourish and get celebrated year after year, maybe even next Valentine’s Day?

By: Bruno Gralpois, Co-Founder & Principal

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