Understanding how to work with clients is essential for any ad agency, no matter their background, niche or clientele. In particular, those which specialize in Amazon advertising need to be a multi-skilled and proactive bunch, capable of adjusting campaigns and learning new information as Amazon continually seeks to raise the bar with its advertising platform. 

There are a wide variety of agencies which specialize in assisting with Amazon’s advertising capabilities, and many of them provide a fantastic service. Yet however skilled a team an agency has assembled, there are plenty of big mistakes which are commonly made in managing client relationships.

The consequences of these mistakes can be far-reaching and costly, having a catastrophic effect on both trust and campaign success. In this blog, we’ll take a look at some of the key mistakes to avoid – and how to get back on track if you falter… 

Problem #1: Poor communication

No client wants to be left wondering whether their agency understands them, and poor communication can easily lead to the end of potentially fruitful working relationships. There are many reasons why communicating well is one of the most important skills the staff at an Amazon ad agency must harness. 

Communication can make or break any business yet many clients find themselves dissatisfied with the communication style of their chosen agency partner.

 Key signs of a breakdown in communication include:

  • Not listening to the client: This is a common mistake, but an inexcusable one – particularly for agencies eager to forge a lasting working relationship. The client knows more about their business than anyone, so it’s important to listen to them as they explain both their ethos and their goals.
  • Forging ahead without checking: No matter how great your agency’s ideas, if they don’t get the go-ahead from the client, they are rendered useless. Clients often have a very clear idea of what they want, and even when they don’t, they still have much to offer to the conversation. These ideas can be used to maximize profits and optimize the account.
  • One way communication: Simply instructing the client of what you’ll be doing is not enough – any effective client/agency relationship must be one where there is communication and clarity on both sides. This communication should also be ongoing, rather than a one-off, as situations change. This allows for productive feedback and continual growth, rather than stagnation and stress for all stakeholders.

The Solution:

Communication really is key for any successful client/agency relationship, as both parties have much to bring to the table which can help the agency create more effective campaigns, and the client benefit from the advertising expertise of the agency. Creating the right atmosphere for trust and open communication heightens the likelihood of the client increasing their profits via advertising activity, and helps ensure a more productive experience.

Problem #2: Failure to Identify KPI’s

Communication really is key for any successful client/agency relationship, as both parties have much to bring to the table which can help the agency create more effective campaigns, and the client benefit from the advertising expertise of the agency. Creating the right atmosphere for trust and open communication heightens the likelihood of the client increasing their profits via advertising activity, and helps ensure a more productive experience. 

Some key signs of vague or inaccurate KPIs include:

  • Assuming instead of clarifying: Many campaigns have faltered as a result of agency assumptions and client assumptions that the agency they work with intrinsically knows what they want. Agency employees aren’t mind-readers, and clients often have a clearer idea of their true wants and needs than might immediately be apparent.
  • Disconnect between client expectations and real deliverables: If what the agency is offering does not match what the client expects, then there is likely a disconnect between the two – and also the benchmarks of success they are both working towards.
  • Difficulty defining success: Without establishing KPIs, it’s impossible to detect whether a campaign is successful in real terms. What the agency considers to be a job well done, may not match with the expectations of the client. This makes working out what truly matters more important than ever.

The Solution:

Ensure you sit down with each client and carefully pinpoint what their true goals are. This will help to limit mistakes, and ensures a more fruitful working relationship. Some clients are most preoccupied with BSR and category rank; others worry about AcoS. Both are valid approaches, but need to be established at the outset of the project so the agency is able to form coherent campaigns and provide verifiable proof of progress. 

Problem #3: Not Understanding the Products

It’s vital that every agency understands not only the client’s KPIs and communication style, but also the products they sell. This will help them to understand a wide variety of important factors which contribute to success and greater sales. What sounds like a huge success for one business may be underwhelming for another – and vice versa. This is where an attentive approach and attention to detail prove extremely important, particularly from a financial standpoint.

Key indicators of a lack of understanding include:

  • No financial information: It’s almost impossible to work productively with a brand if you have no access to their pricing information – and how they define success. Establishing what they expect to make from every sale, and how their average sales structure plays out, helps the agency to create meaningful campaigns.
  • No understanding of place in market: Each brand occupied a unique place in the market, and knowing about this is part of understanding the client and their requirements.
  • No knowledge of profit margins: This is one of the most important pieces of information for an agency to access when working with a client, as without knowing the profit margins of each client, it’s easy to fall into a more monotonous (and ineffective) sales strategy.

The Solution:

Be aware of the company you are working with, and get to know their brand from as many angles as possible. Look at the profit margins they expect from each product, and also assess from a lifetime value perspective – taking into account brand awareness at the pricing structure stage. 

For newer brands, or those who are unsure of how to proceed, they may require more guidance from the agency. Established brands are often very strict when arranging their profit margins – so discussing with the business is a great way to find out what you need to know.

Problem #4: Incorrectly Categorizing Campaigns

Learning how to categorize each campaign is another essential element to Amazon advertising success, and yet it’s an aspect which is often overlooked by agencies. Structure is often everything when it comes to online advertising, yet far too many agencies have yet to establish this in their work with Amazon, leading to difficulties distinguishing which products are performing at an improved level, and which are falling behind. In turn, this makes it extremely difficult to gauge which parts of an advertising campaign are working – and which are not. 

Some key indicators of this problem include:

  • No real structure: If categorization never even enters the conversation, then this is a bad sign, for all the reasons listed above. To detect success and build on it, the source of this success first needs to be identified – and likewise, no campaign can be corrected accurately if nobody can detect the areas which are not performing to the same standard.
  • Difficulty reading data: It’s quite easy to tell when an agency hasn’t been categorizing their campaigns, as this is present in the data. No structure leads to a certain amount of chaos, which is never favorable for clients or advertisers.
  • Incorrect structure: A nonsensical approach to categorizing campaigns is just as damaging as no structure at all – so it’s important for there to be logic which allows anyone accessing the campaign data to see what’s happening, and why.

The Solution:

Agencies need to be logical in their approach to campaign categorization, allowing a clearer way to read the data and continue serving clients. Chaos isn’t good for either advertising agencies or the businesses which trust them, so keeping this in mind is another important factor.


Taking a robotic approach to campaigns leaves clients out of the loop from work which they should be a part of. It can often leave all parties with a misleading impression of the performance of each campaign, and create an unnecessary struggle to re-establish trust. 

While Amazon-centric advertising agencies have a bright future, they can easily damage their credibility by falling prey to these key mistakes. By taking a more proactive and detail-oriented approach, many of the most common mishaps can be avoided, helping to ensure happy clients and successful campaigns.

This is a guest post by written by George Meressa of Clear Ads. Please learn more about their about their services here.