The Problem with Marketing Agencies
I have spent the last 5 years in the marketing automation space because I feel that it is a must-have for any company in this day and age. Learn how and what people look at when they visit websites and use the analytics generated from these behaviors to see how your marketing efforts are succeeding.
Recently, I made a career change to a digital marketing agency because I feel that with all of the different technologies out there, marketers really need guidance and coaching. They need to understand not only how to create an email or post on social media, but more importantly, they need to have a strategy and an understanding of what to do with the data they collect.
In the many conversations I have had with my customers I was stunned to hear that after working with marketing agencies for months, they were still struggling with sales not getting enough leads, they didn’t have a strategy in place, and that they had no reporting to measure the success and quality of their efforts. As a marketing software vendor, I knew these were not challenges they should still have.
I realized that agencies are incentivized to keep you ignorant. If you don’t know how to do what they do, it prevents you from holding them accountable. For this reason, many agencies are opaque; they treat strategy like a black box of hidden secrets and they try to automate as little as possible. These dishonest practices ensure you will pay their retainer for years to come.
Many marketers are looking for help with improving their skills with one main goal, revenue impact, this is where the right marketing agency can be a big help.
So what are the tells that your agency might be dishonest? I’m happy you asked.
What are the tells that your agency might be dishonest? I’m happy you asked.
1. Excessive Hours
Agencies support many types of customers, and some projects take longer than others. Having said this, a good agency can support a full-time marketing effort with a part-time hourly retainer. Why? They should be better at this. When you think about a full-time staff member, they have to attend 1 on 1’s, company meetings, team events, and build relationships with people in the office. SFGate states that employees admit to wasting about 40% of their time at work, this means that replacing the function of one whole team member should, at the max, cost you 100 retainer hours a month (And that’s assuming the agency isn’t able to be more efficient due to expertise and experience, which they definitely should). At Tactical, we aren’t even allowed to sell retainers over 30 hours per month without our CEO’s approval because they are so rare.
2. Vanity Metrics
Agencies are supposed to be the best of the best. Agencies know this, they know when your campaign isn’t working, and often, they know whether it will work or not before it even launches. A great agency doesn’t just execute tasks, they help you define goals, prioritize work that contributes to those goals, and measure their success with predefined metrics. If an agency is distracting you with extensive reporting on opens and clicks or website traffic and dodging the question of return on investment, then you’re seeing the sign of neglect, incompetence, or dishonesty.
3. No Results
Not all projects are measured in dollars. Sometimes there is a specific project focus like inbox placement, deliverability, or sales inquiries. A good agency will always have transparent reporting the demonstrates the objective they were hired to reach is being met, and if not – why not. A good agency knows that not all plans work, there are literally millions of variables that can impact the success of a marketing effort. They also know how to overcome these obstacles and actually deliver results. If your agency is better at delivering excuses than results, it’s probably time to start looking for a better partner.
Tactical MA: A Different Kind of Agency
At Tactical Marketing Automation, we work in partnership with marketing teams to increase revenue, more importantly, we take every opportunity to help them understand the logic behind the solutions. Our approach is quite simple, we build trust with regularly scheduled meetings, get to know who we are working with so we can be on the same page as our clients, and we always have the marketers back. Trust, respect, expertise, and communication are the critical ingredients in working with a digital marketing agency. At Tactical, this is how we run our business every day.
Stuart Nessel I VP, Sales and Client Relations
Tactical Marketing Automation