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3 Tips For Breaking Bad News To Your Marketing Clients

When you work in marketing, you’re bound to run into some roadblocks as you strive to create marketing campaigns that rival some of the greats. But while it can be disappointing when your own marketing ideas don’t work out the way you wanted, what can be even more challenging is when the marketing you’re doing for someone else’s business falls short.

Although facing the music in situations like this can be hard, these tough conversations need to be had. So to help you with this, here are three tips for breaking bad news to your marketing clients.

Give Them The Full Picture

The worst thing you can do when your marketing plans aren’t going as you had anticipated is to try to cover up what’s actually happened. So rather than taking this route, Susan Berkley, a contributor to Business Know How, recommends that you tell the truth by giving them as full of a picture of what happened as you can.

Ideally, you should be able to provide them with reports of what happened and how things may have changed. This will help give your clients context for what you did and how it impacted their business. For many business owners, having the metrics right there in front of them can help to lessen the blow, as they might be able to see how making additional changes could swing things back in a positive direction.

Be Empathetic

As soon as you’ve given the bad news to your client, it’s natural for them to be emotional about what they’ve just heard.

According to Eric Brown, a contributor to Forbes Communication Council, the next thing you should focus your attention on is offering them an ear to express what they’re thinking and feeling, even if that means being blamed. Once you’ve heard what they have to say, rather than trying to defend yourself or your decisions, try to offer them empathy for the situation they’re now in and move them onto the next phase of breaking this bad news.

Come To The Table With Possible Solutions

To give yourself the best chance of having things come out okay at the end of this tough conversation with your marketing client, Nadia Goodman, a contributor to, advises that you don’t come into the conversation until you’ve been able to come up with some possible solutions for how to fix the problem in the future. While it’s good to get feedback from the client on how they would also like to proceed, showing that you’re committed to getting things back on track with your own ideas can go a long way toward smoothing things over, too.

If you’re having to break some bad news to a client you’re doing the marketing for, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you prepare and get through this difficult conversation.

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