Building Robust Client-Agency Relationships: Preventing Buyer’s Remorse

buyers remorse

As professionals in SEO agencies, we understand the importance of maintaining fruitful relationships with our clients. However, what happens when these relationships start to sour? Buyer’s remorse can creep in, and before we know it, we’re back at square one – looking for new clients to fill the void. So, how do we prevent buyer’s remorse? How do we sustain these client-agency relationships for the long term? Let’s dive in and dissect this problem.

Understanding the Client-Agency Relationship

Let’s start with the basics. The average client-agency relationship now lasts less than three years. While multiple factors contribute to this trend – such as shifts toward project work, shrinking budgets, agency complacency, and brand management turnover – the result remains the same. Brands are hiring agencies and getting buyer’s remorse.

As agencies, we must remember that both parties need to invest time and resources into the relationship for it to succeed. Therefore, understanding the nature of the relationship is crucial. We need to evolve and stay ahead of the curve to provide the value and innovation that clients expect from us.

Shift From AOR to IAT

Decades ago, the average client-agency relationship lasted about eight years. What has changed since then? The digital revolution happened. Digital media has fragmented the customer across an ever-growing number of channels, which in turn requires specialization from agency partners.

The era of hiring one agency for all needs has faded, and now we see the emergence of Integrated Agency Teams (IAT). The IAT consists of specialized agencies for social media, digital marketing, public relations, creative development, and so on.

Navigating the Pitching Process

One of the most challenging aspects of the client-agency relationship is the pitching process. Agencies are often expected to provide a considerable amount of speculative work for creative, ideation, and strategy. This can lead to hundreds, even thousands, of billable hours spent on spec pitch work, incentivizing agencies to do whatever they can to win business.

To counteract this, agencies could ask for a small fee to cover costs associated with the pitch. This shows the client that you value your time and are committed to delivering quality work.

Aligning Teams for Lasting Relationships

To ensure long-lasting relationships, it’s essential to have project and account teams that align with the client’s needs. We must avoid the “bait and switch” strategy where potential agency partners or executives impress the brand team during the pitch, but a month into the engagement, they are replaced by other team members.

A team’s continuity and the ability to deliver consistently over time are crucial factors for preventing buyer’s remorse.

Effective Response to Reviews

When an agency comes under review, the reasons could be varied: stagnant growth, mismanaged expectations, or new brand leadership. An effective response to these reviews involves understanding the reasons behind them and making the necessary adjustments. It’s about making an emotional connection with the client and understanding their challenges.

Keeping Complacency at Bay

A common concern expressed by clients is agency complacency. As SEO agencies, we must actively avoid becoming complacent by continually understanding the brand’s needs and worries. A sense of shared empathy for one another’s business is key to keeping the relationship thriving.

The Way Forward

The nature of client-agency relationships is indeed changing. However, these changes need not signal the end of lasting partnerships. Instead, they present opportunities for evolution and growth. As SEO agencies, we must adapt our capabilities to market on emerging platforms for emerging behaviors across various channels.

Remember, every successful relationship requires investment, shared goals, and mutual respect. We are all in this together, playing for one common purpose – the success of our clients.


jay kang

Jay Kang, entrepreneur and SEO expert, is the driving force behind innovative platforms like and His latest creation, ProductReview.Tools, provides affiliate marketers with a powerful WordPress plugin for crafting high-converting reviews. Committed to empowering marketers, Jay continues to make a positive impact in the digital marketing space.

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