11 Signs It’s Time to Fire Your Digital Marketing Agency

Are you feeling frustrated, unheard, or overlooked by your digital marketing agency? Are you left staring at lackluster campaign results, wondering if it’s time to part ways?

Over the past decade, We’ve worked with countless professionals who’ve made the bold move to switch agency partners. And the thing I hear most? “I wish I’d done it sooner.”

Whether you’re grappling with this decision or need reassurance that your relationship with your agency is healthy, this blog post will highlight some clear signs that it might be time to reassess.

We’ve compiled a list of the top 11 pain points that often indicate it’s time to bid farewell to your current digital marketing agency based on my experience.


Knowing what’s going on with your marketing efforts is crucial. Solid, informative reports can validate your current strategies, bring value, or point out those pesky performance issues that need a little TLC.

One big issue I’ve seen is agencies not making these reports readily available to their clients. This usually happens when they’re manually creating in-house reports. But let’s be real: this shouldn’t be an issue. It’s a red flag, indicating your agency is spending more time crunching numbers manually than focusing on what they should be doing – elevating your marketing performance.

Over here at Augurian, we’re all about automation. We link directly to Google Analytics or Big Query and deliver our performance reports via Looker Studio. This way, our clients can constantly access their data, play around with time frames, or dig into specific areas that interest them.

And the best part?

Our tech stack is user-friendly. If you ever decide to break things off with us (though we hope you won’t), you’ll have no problem recreating our reports on platforms that won’t charge you extra subscription costs.

Ready for a marketing overhaul with easily accessible, automated reports? Contact Augurian today. 

Employee Churn

When partnering with an agency, a bit of employee turnover is inevitable. But when it’s a recurring issue, it can put a serious damper on the momentum of your account.

For many of our clients, a deep understanding of their intricate buying process or industry is essential for strategic decisions, and the more that agency staff changes, the harder it becomes to maintain this understanding.

Constant changes in the team can feel like you’re always back at square one. Detailed processes and documentation can lessen this impact, but it won’t completely solve the problem.

From my experience, high staff turnover in agencies is usually a symptom of internal issues, such as a poor working culture or operational problems.

Once the cycle starts, it tends to spiral out of control, increasing the strain on those who stick around. If the agency isn’t prepared to scale up quickly, the remaining team members often face an overwhelming workload, leading to burnout.

At Augurian, we’ve taken multiple measures to combat this issue. We’ve centralized all our communications and documentation so new team members get up to speed quickly when they join an account.

Plus, we believe in “hiring ahead.” We always maintain a buffer capacity to manage unforeseen workload spikes, like onboarding more accounts than expected or dealing with unexpected employee departures. It’s a delicate balancing act, but each year our forecasting improves.

Most importantly, we remain committed to our promise to employees. We prioritize learning and growth opportunities for everyone. Career growth is a non-negotiable for many, and agencies that fail to cater to this will struggle to retain talent.

At Augurian, we strive to be a digital marketing agency that keeps our talent fulfilled, motivated, and ready to serve you better.

Limited Account Access to Paid Media publisher data

One major red flag when dealing with an agency is Limited Account Access, especially to paid media publisher data like Google Ads or Meta Ads. I’ve heard a lot of excuses, but never a legitimate reason why an agency can’t grant you direct access to the platforms they manage for you.

The hesitation to grant access often stems from the agency’s fear of transparency. They might be trying to conceal additional fees that aren’t clearly communicated, or they might not be as active in the account as they should be.

Sometimes, it’s because they’ve outsourced their work and don’t want you to see who’s actually pulling the strings. Or, they’ve set vague, overblown goals that inflate their performance metrics, creating a misleading impression of their actual value.

At Augurian, we believe in total transparency, which is why we grant our clients access to our publisher accounts. Not only does this foster trust, but it also keeps us accountable and committed to delivering top-notch performance.

Poor communication

Communication is key to any successful collaboration. If your account managers aren’t responsive or use jargon that leaves you in the dark, that’s a problem. 

At Augurian, we strive to acknowledge any queries within 24-hours and provide a clear timeline for when you can expect a comprehensive response.

Augurian specializes in paid media advertising, organic search marketing, and website analytics. Explore our digital marketing wins and case studies, or take a tour of our digital marketing services to learn more.

Slow turnaround time

Many new clients have expressed frustration with the slow roll-out of new initiatives. And understandably so. When there’s a specific timeline for a campaign, it’s pretty disheartening to learn that it won’t be launched effectively due to delays.

Especially when a significant amount of time has been invested into strategizing, brainstorming creative ideas, and aligning everyone for the big launch. The last thing anyone wants to hear is that launching ads or tests can’t be done in time.

But let’s be honest; good work takes time.

At Augurian, we’re committed to ensuring timely execution without compromising on quality. However, we request a 5-business-day heads-up, which gives us the necessary lead time to mobilize our resources and ensure everything is set up just right.

Generic Processes: Missing the Personal Touch

We’ve heard clients lament that “we felt like a small fish caught in a bigger process, we wanted more flexibility, but the way the agency operates just doesn’t allow for that to happen well.” They are yearning for more adaptability from their agency. Sometimes, the agency’s standardized processes aren’t quite the right fit for your unique needs.

Leaders in the agency want to try and optimize how their teams work to ensure their time is used as efficiently as possible. That manifests in team or company-wide processes that work often, but not in all cases. This can create problems when a situation requires customization based on your individual needs, and you feel like the team can’t give you what you’re looking for.

To combat this, we emphasize in our professional development that team members listen and empathize with statements that indicate the case for a specific client and integrate that into how they bring recommendations back.

This can be a challenge, especially for team members new to digital marketing, to feel confident about how to operate the account. However, these types of situations are often valuable professional learning experiences for the company and the individual, so it’s something we consistently train on.

Late on Google Analytics 4

Many agencies will find themselves ill-prepared for the transition to GA4 – an entirely new measurement system. Early adopters who started in 2022 will undoubtedly navigate this change more smoothly than their tardier counterparts. The shift to GA4 involves several aspects that agencies must tackle, and failure to do so should be a red flag for any business.

Training agency teams to understand what’s changed and how it impacts reporting is a significant hurdle. Since 2012, the industry has primarily depended on universal Google Analytics. Now, everyone, from leadership to entry-level staff, needs to adjust. The tool demands a new level of understanding and familiarity, a step many agencies overlook.

Another vital component of GA4 adoption is giving team members early access to reports so they can delve into the data. GA4’s unique traits, such as limited data retention and sharing restrictions, can cause issues when replicating the previously possible reports with UA.

At Augurian, this acclimation process took two quarters. If we hadn’t begun early, we would have been caught off-guard by the transition deadline. Implementing GA4 well in advance was a strategic decision to minimize disruption during the transition. Waiting to set up the tool means waiting 365 days for year-over-year data.

Agencies that championed an early switch will face minimal reporting disruptions, while those that procrastinated will encounter delays. While there are makeshift solutions, they require more effort and are inherently less efficient than a proactive approach.

Augurian has advocated for early GA4 adoption since the UA deadline was announced in early 2022. We dedicated time to training and allowed our team to familiarize themselves with the data. We began migrating our reporting in late 2022, surmounting challenges along the way to deliver real-time reports. Early action was key to finding solutions before the deadline.

If your agency has yet to take similar steps, it may be time to reevaluate your partnership. In a digital age, being ahead of the curve isn’t just an advantage—it’s a necessity. Choose an agency that embraces change and prepares for it in time.

Poor Performance

One primary factor that drives companies to switch agencies is poor performance. Every company has set goals and specific individuals responsible for meeting these targets. If you’re in partnership with an agency, you likely bear individual accountability for its performance within your organization. When the results are unsatisfactory, and the agency’s efforts can’t be justified, it’s perfectly rational to consider a change.

I often encounter organizations that struggle to understand their own targeting and performance dynamics. A closer inspection frequently reveals glaring inconsistencies in the setup that do not align with the overall strategy, consequently wasting valuable resources. At the onset or even before engaging with new clients, we conduct audits and find this kind of misalignment to be pretty common.

In my career, I’ve seen severe instances of misdirected budget allocations where 90% of the budget is funneled toward a keyword or audience that is patently inappropriate. For example, a college aiming to attract students end up appearing in searches made by parents looking for kindergarten classes. Seeing hard-earned money ineffectively spent on search engines, with no tangible value for the advertiser, is genuinely disheartening.

So if your agency is underperforming, it might be time for a change. A well-aligned and effective agency partnership is crucial for achieving your business goals.

Curious about how our agency performs? Explore Augurian’s digital marketing wins and case studies.

Reactive vs. Proactive communications of industry changes

The digital marketing landscape evolves rapidly and at an accelerating pace every year since my career began. We frequently encounter clients who are unaware of updates and changes that directly impact their business. These changes may relate to search algorithm modifications, the introduction of a new Google analytics tool, or emerging campaign types or formats that could be beneficial for client testing.

It’s disappointing for new clients to discover that potentially useful formats have been available for months or even years, yet they weren’t informed. Agencies should maintain open channels of communication and foster relationships with the platforms they utilize.

If they don’t, they may not be well-equipped to relay these updates to you. It’s prudent to inquire about your agency’s relationship with companies like Google and Meta to gauge their access level and expertise, setting them apart from other potential partners. Proactive communication regarding industry changes is a clear indicator of a high-performing agency.

Didn’t Bridge the Gap Between Business and Digital Metrics

Presenting a report filled with data on clicks, impressions, and so forth is a straightforward task. However, the challenge lies in articulating what these metrics signify for your organization, especially when these figures might not be relevant.

What’s the use of discussing clicks and conversions if your performance evaluation hinges on revenue?

Establishing a link between digital marketing reports and your business outcomes can be complex without the right framework. It’s a common scenario for us to encounter new clients needing assistance in this area. The solution often takes time, but incremental measures can be taken to move beyond accepting surface-level reporting from your agency.

Agencies committed to driving tangible results should be capable of partnering with you to advocate for your organization’s needs. If your CRM or POS system isn’t integrated with digital data as required, effecting this change requires substantial persuasion.

The most rewarding experience for me is seeing a long-term client finally surmount these internal obstacles. This breakthrough often proves transformative for the agency-client relationship and invigorates the team to validate their work and make impactful decisions that directly influence the bottom line.

Not Understanding Roles: Who makes these changes anyways?

Misalignment in expectations at the start of engagements can often lead to confusion. This issue commonly surfaces in areas like organic search work and implementation. It’s crucial to clarify whether the agency is expected to implement the recommended changes or if your company will handle this task internally. Some companies have firm website governance policies requiring internal adjustments, while others anticipate the agency to carry out the suggested modifications.

Establishing clear expectations before starting the engagement is paramount. If you initially intend to make changes internally but later find this unworkable, you may end up with many unimplemented suggestions, ultimately resulting in lost potential value.

Is IT Time to Find a New Marketing Agency?

It’s not easy to make the decision to part ways with your current digital marketing agency, but it’s necessary to consider the signs.

From poor communication and performance to lack of proactive industry updates and understanding the difference between consultative and implementation roles, these warning signals shouldn’t be ignored. Remember, the key to a successful partnership is rooted in transparency, alignment, and the ability to adapt to your unique needs.

In a rapidly changing digital marketing landscape, choosing an agency that’s capable and committed to driving your business forward is crucial. Always remember your business deserves an agency partner that’s responsive, reliable, and ready to help you achieve your goals.

If you’re ready to experience confidence in your digital marketing and foster a healthy, productive partnership, reach out to us at Augurian. We’re committed to driving your business success with transparency, efficiency, and innovation.

Director, Services at Augurian
Derrick Turner is a Partner and Director of Services at Augurian. Derrick has a passion for digital media and has seen how effective it can be when managed by the right hands. A digital marketing veteran, Derrick has executed successful campaigns across many industries. He has an interest in connecting strategies, teams, & platforms together to support business objectives.
Derrick Turner
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