Your Clients Are Killing Your Best Ideas, and That’s Your Fault

Getting client approval for your agency’s brilliant ideas isn’t an obstacle to doing your job. It’s your only job.

Steve Bryant
5 min readJun 16, 2019


We live in a time of great change.

It’s not the best of times.

It’s not the worst of times.

But it’s definitely the changiest of times.

Everywhere you look, there’s disruption. Tumult. Eye-widening new shit:

Social influencers.

Content marketing.

A riotous kudzu of sponcon.

That’s all new.

Then also: marketing automation, predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, attribution modeling.

Brands have been told to give TLC to PPC.

They’ve been told to get ROI with SEO.

To GFY with APIs.

Not to mention: to heed the relentless call to migrate to all of their work to a billowy concept called the cloud, a description formerly reserved for things like Sky Yahwehs and the Mario Kart referee.

That’s a lot of change.

But while all that change is happening , one thing stays stubbornly the same.

That one thing is undermining your best ideas. It’s destroying your strategies. It’s putting the kabosh on your best ideas just before launch.

That one thing is your client.

The real, live, bones-and-a-butt person who hired you because of your prior work, but who is now quibbling with your insights.

The person who asked you to solve their problem, but who is now nitpicking your conclusions.

The person who was excited to see your strategy, but who is now looming above you on a video call, furrowing their brow more deeply with each passing slide in your deck.

Why? Because they don’t understand what the hell you’re telling them to do.

That’s a shame. That’s a terrible vexation. But guess what.

That’s your fault.



Steve Bryant

Content Ops and Strategy for brands and agencies // // now with more newsletter: