How to Bounce Back from a Bad Experience with a Marketing Agency
Path & Compass is a boutique marketing and strategy firm with an intentional & holistic approach. We serve small businesses, specializing in wedding, event & hospitality businesses, wellness professionals, creative entrepreneurs and artists. Services including website design, branding & logo design, content marketing, SEO services, business coaching, sales training, graphic design, budgeting, goal setting and thoughtful growth.
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How to Bounce Back from a Bad Experience with a Marketing Agency

As a business owner, investing your hard-earned money is stressful enough. Even more so once you’ve had a bad experience with a marketing agency or freelancer. The company and people who you hired and trusted with managing your website, blog, social media, and marketing left you high and dry and didn’t deliver. But you STILL need help with creating, planning, and handling all this – because you have bigger tasks at hand. So, how do you overcome the bad marketing experience so that you can get back to business, and avoid making the same mistakes? Here are the steps our team at Path & Compass encourages you to take, to re-establish some trust with marketing agencies or freelancers to get back on track.

Complete a Post-Mortem

After a negative experience with a marketing agency or freelancer, take the time to figure out what happened. Often we rush to find someone else to put out the fire, repeating the same mistakes we had in past relationships.  Beyond obvious reasons like a freelancer disappearing and not returning your messages, ask yourself what you could have done better. Did you do enough diligence before you hired them? Was the onboarding process (yours or theirs) effective? Was the budget and timeline realistic? Did you have an agreement stating the scope of services, responsibilities, and expectations? Did you pay your bill on time? Were you professional and kind in all your communications? Would it work better to bring this in-house vs work with an outside party? After any bad breakup, a little soul-searching is important – because sometimes we are the problem.

Be Candid

When you finally decide to start approaching marketing agencies again, the best thing you can do is be candid during the interview process. Let them know about your previous experience, what you are looking for and what you’re not. Be clear about any past relationships that went sour and why. A good-standing marketing company wants clients that are a good fit for their processes & services. At Path & Compass, we are clear about our approach, how we work, and client responsibilities. We are also clear about our limits and areas of expertise. When we can’t help you or our processes don’t address a key pain point for you – we are going to advise you to work with someone else. Trust is crucial for us with all our clients. We need you to be candid about what matters most to you so we can build and protect that trust.

Take Baby Steps

Once you have decided to commit to another marketing company, there’s no reason to dive in headfirst. In fact, we discourage it! It is absolutely okay to take baby steps, starting with smaller projects or trial periods. This way you can confirm the agency meshes well with your business. You might with website updates, then hand off social media, followed by your e-mail campaigns, and finally a full website design. Edging in slowly will help you build up some trust in the company and protect yourself from becoming locked in a contract that isn’t working for your business.

Request a Portfolio

You know the saying, “The proof is in the pudding”? When it comes to marketing agencies, it does not apply. The proof is actually in the portfolio – an important asset that every reputable agency should have and be eager to share. A marketing portfolio is extremely helpful. It can tell you everything about the quality of an agency’s work, their general style, and the types of businesses they work with. All of this will help you determine if they align with your unique business vision and needs. Check our portfolio out as an example! Here, we break down all the services provided and goals achieved for each client, along with visual proof.

Set Clear Expectations

There are two common issues that may sour your experience with a marketing agency. The first is a lack of transparency and accountability. Say a deadline was missed and the agency refuses to take accountability. In the future, be specific about who owns what part of the marketing plan – put it in writing, and have both teams sign it. The second is communication. For example, project costs are running way over and the agency never told you. Now you’re facing a bill that is much higher than expected. Before you sign on as a client again, ask for a breakdown of pricing and set a cap for the month so that you stay in control. This way there are no surprises!

Ready to overcome your bad experience with a marketing agency or freelancer? Want to go deep into your business & goals, creating a plan that maximizes ALL your efforts and your budget? Then let’s get started! Through our marketing partnerships, you will enjoy full-service implementation with a long-term partner you can trust. We guarantee it. Contact us today at