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5 Signs That You Need To Fire Your Marketing Agency

Digital marketing has become sketchy territory.

Not sketchy like the windowless van that parks outside of the middle school every Thursday during soccer practice, but sketchy like the snake oil salesmen who were famous for prying on the unsuspecting public by selling them fake cures. As our society develops deeper and deeper into the online world, businesses are being put into a position where their very growth and existence hinges on their ability to adapt their business for online consumers. This means that the demand for digital marketing teams who can scale a company online is huge! While that is great for the competent marketers who are able to bring clients real results, it also exposes optimistic business owners to the majority supply of marketing agencies that over-promise, under-deliver, and poorly communicate, all to the detriment of your revenue as the business owner.

I wanted to write this article on behalf of the sadly large percentage of clients that we work with who have lost thousands of dollars to marketing companies that promised their services would pay for themselves, only to bleed out cash into actions that produced zero fruit. Here are the 5 signs that you need to fire your marketing agency:

Sign #1: You talk to too many different people

Now, I’m not out to critique the communication structure of everyone’s marketing team. What I AM out to critique is the madness that some marketing agencies subject their clients to when it comes to communicating back and forth about deliverables, quality issues, questions, etc..

If you are working with a digital advertising team and you are constantly having to converse with a lead coordinator, a content creator, an ad specialist, a blog writer, an SEO specialist, a video editor, and their janitor, then you’re effectively having to babysit your external marketing team. This type of agency-to-client communication is becoming commonplace in the realm of digital marketing, and at best this is a sure-fire way to waste a ton of the client's time through having to coordinate with a non-unified team. In addition to this, often one part of the team is moving slower than the other, leaving the client forced to navigate who is causing the backup on deliverables and how to solve it.

On the flipside, one distinction that you're working with a great marketing company is that you have a succinct number of contact points within the agency. If there’s an issue with one of the video edits, you talk to one project manager. If you have a question about the strategies being used for targeting, you talk to the same project manager. If you're worried about the performance of an ad, you talk to that same project manager again. If this is the type of communication you experience with the agency, then you can rest assured in knowing that they have developed a unified productivity system that allows them to manage the coordination of their own staff AND timely communication with their client, without putting the communication workload on the shoulders of the client.

That’s a good thing.

Sign #2: They casually miss deadlines

Showing another human being sympathy and understanding for a deadline being missed is ok on the rare occasion that it happens. But when your marketing agency is constantly turning in deliverables later than their original deadlines, there might be reason to believe that your business is not getting the priority attention that it needs and deserves. Missing deadlines habitually is an indicator that the agency as a whole is not keeping their eyes on your project in the ways that are necessary to run your digital advertising successfully. It's easy to let a couple of late ad launches and missed zoom meetings float by on your grace as a business owner, but this rhythm of behavior by a marketing agency doesn't speak well to their future success (or lack of) with your advertising.

You, your business, and your time are all valuable. The marketing agency you hire should treat them as such.

Sign #3: They promised you a specific ROI

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with an agency talking to you about speculatively hitting certain ROAS projections based on ad spend, industry, etc.. If they give you a case study from one of their previous clients, and relate that experience to ways that they can help your business, then that’s great!

If part of an agency's pitch to you was that they guaranteed you’ll hit a 3x ROAS within 2 months, then this could be a red flag. Now, it’s definitely possible for a company to hit 2x,3x,5x,10x ROAS within 2 months of advertising, depending on a number of different variables. However, any projection of what your future earnings will be after working with a marketing agency are SPECULATIVE; there’s no marketing agency on the planet that can truly guarantee you a specific return on your investment. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t ok for an agency to tell you that they BELIEVE they can hit a certain return on your investment, or that they are going to be aiming for specific benchmarks throughout the marketing process as indicators of things going well or a need to change direction. But when you get told that you can expect a certain profit by a certain day, you are being subjected to predatory sales tactics that benefit the marketing agency alone, and leave you with unrealistic expectations of the marketing process.

Something that is always worth keeping in mind when it comes to hiring a marketing agency to work with your digital ads: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Sign #4: They didn’t inquire about your whole business

How much time did your marketing company spend with you analyzing your business, discussing potential strategies, and custom-tailoring their approach for your specific needs? While certain aspects of marketing may be similar from business to business, the reality is that when a marketing company applies a cookie-cutter method to their clients, you as a business owner end up paying the price (literally and figuratively).

The voice of your brand, the audience channels your business has established, the type of product or service you offer, your location, your competition, all of these variables plus SO many more contribute to the need for your marketing strategy to be built around your company vs. just thrown at it. Let’s use the following case as an example:

Two different businesses both decide to start using Facebook ads. One of them is a restaurant and one of them is a chiropractor, both of which operate in the same city. Is the strategy going to be the same for both businesses? I would think not! So if I’m an ad agency, should you trust me just because we promise that we’ll “run your Facebook ads” well? Or do you think it’s important that the agency approaches you with a specific Facebook advertising strategy that takes into account the unique variables surrounding your business?

Over-promised results, accompanied by a generic marketing template, is simply not a winning formula for a successful marketing campaign. The agency that you are paying to make your business more money shouldn’t treat your business the exact same as everybody else’s. But I guess my opinion is bias here. vid2REV treats every client as a unique case that will require a unique solution to their marketing needs. We do this not only because it’s the best way to get results, but for us it’s the only way to truly maximize the investment our clients are making into our services.

Sign #5: They aren’t making you more money

One of the trickiest things that marketing agencies can do is to put a bunch of fancy graphs and stats about your performance in front of your face every month, only to quietly tip-toe around a huge glaring error with their reports:

They haven’t made you anymore money.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that certain non-sales-related marketing objectives are necessary functions for a successful marketing campaign. However, your agency needs to have your end goal in mind when they are developing their strategy for your business. Just because a report shows that you've gotten 200 backlinks verified for your website in the last 60 days doesn’t amount to much when you are still ranked past the 10th page on Google, and your revenue has increased a total of 0% since you started working with the agency. While not every performance measurement will be about sales, the entire goal of the marketing strategy needs to be clearly moving your business in a direction to grow revenue.

If the marketing agency isn’t bringing dollars into your business, then what exactly are you paying them for?

My hope in writing this article is that hard working business owners can be on the lookout for these dangerous signs when they are outsourcing their marketing needs. If you just so happen to be looking for real marketing services that are effective and transparent, then go ahead and click the link below to schedule your free discovery call with us!

With love,

Brady Butler

Founder and CEO, Vid2Rev

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