The Agency Disconnect

How do you sell a product without listening to the people actually selling it?

The goal of marketing is to connect customers with the brand and drive sales. It’s an extension of the sales process. Yet too often we see marketing departments, and the agencies that support them, working in silos, disconnected from the sales teams and customer service departments they’re tasked with supporting. (And that have the direct day-to-day link to the customer.)

Marketing determines a need, the agency is briefed, and often an entire campaign is developed off of little more than a 1-2 paragraph summary. Sometimes magic happens and that outsider perspective is just what the problem needed. But more often than not, that disconnect between the agency, the clients’ day-to-day perspective, and their customers, leads to multiple rounds and creative that misses the mark.

Now that’s not to say there isn’t great value in a well thought out brief, but as an industry, we need to dig deeper instead of relying on the “telephone game” to get the job done right. Agency creatives need to reach out to the client, and the client’s customers, much more often than is typically done.

I’ve spent significant time on both sides, as part of corporate marketing teams and at agencies, and I never felt more connected and passionate about a brand then when I had the opportunity to sit and have an open dialogue with its customers or the men and women on the front lines. Their unique perspectives, whether it be on the mindset of the customer or just past problems and praises they've received are all worth their weight in gold when it comes to developing the perfect messaging that will drive sales.

Do you think agencies are too disconnected from the client their audience? Let me know your thoughts at

Refresh Advertising is a full-service agency with a focus on social and digital platforms. Our purpose is twofold. We're here to help brands tell their story in an ever-changing landscape…and to be an informed resource for busy marketing managers, in-house creative teams, and entrepreneurs.