Once, you fell in love. Now, your marketing agency doesn’t do it for you.

But breakups are hard, and finding a new flame isn’t easy (And getting them up to speed… Ugh.)—all you want is the magic back.

Before penning that RFP, try putting new passion in your old partnership by:

  1. Laying it all on the line

Ironically, many communicators struggle to be transparent to other communicators. Call it professional pride, fear of scrutiny, or simply keeping things close to the vest, but two gabbers don’t always make a good fit.

If things have just started to slip, don’t assume the agency senses your displeasure. Of course, they should be taking your temperature regularly, but a true reading takes extra effort from both sides.

Propose an in-person meeting, clearly identify your concerns in advance, and request your partner do the same (simply, an account of what’s working and what’s not from their perspective).

Talk candidly and keep the conversation focused on goals, not the “fix.” Ask your agency to take this under advisement and return (in a week or two) with pointed recommendations for making improvements (i.e., tweaking your account team or modifying process to match your pace).

“We don’t talk anymore…” should never be spoken by PR pros!

  1. Seriously shake @#%! up

The first case study that your agency wrote was fire. The 25th was less inspired. The 50th… read well (well, the parts you read at least). What happened to your Hemingway, anyway?

As in all relationships, repetition creates ruts. Your contacts aren’t likely to complain, but tackling the same assignment for the sixth consecutive month can be tedious.

Agencies crave new challenges (and your trust). Take time to examine the workload and consider widening the focus where it makes sense.

For example: Your agency tells damn good stories, but your sales decks don’t. Try putting your people together to pump up those customer PowerPoints—opportunities to work with new team members on new projects (to newly impress you) can kickstart the creativity you’ve come to expect.

  1. Moving in together

A little distance can mend a marriage but doom clients and agencies to a messy divorce. Rather than ask for space, try getting closer instead.

If geographies allow, invite your agency rep to spend several hours a week (even a day) at your facility working on current (and perhaps some new) assignments. Even one opportunity to talk through a project face-to-face for a few minutes can save many, many emails (and aggravations) later.

Your agency will also gain a better appreciation of the realities of your work place and simply “being there” can help them attune to the same goals you’re chasing (never underestimate the role caring and camaraderie play!).

Alternatively, your agency may be eager to have you over—spending more time inside their walls is a big first step to creating a happier home.

All relationships require work but shouldn’t be a chore. If you’re going through the motions, try making a few waves. After all, you chose your agency for a reason—each of these steps should remind you (and them!) what it was.

If you’re interested in learning more about creating sustainable relationships with your agency and within your company, make sure to check out our webinar, “How to build a winning culture for less than 1,000 calories.”

Eric Knappenberger is a Senior Content Architect at AKHIA.