5 Things Marketing Agencies Don’t Want You To Know

Have you ever tried hiring a marketing agency before? Ever been disappointed by a world of promises and no results, after burning thousands of dollars?

We have to admit that the general perception around our industry is not great. But the fact is, most small to medium-sized businesses will engage an agency at some point, for a fraction of what it would cost to put together an in-house team.

Realistically speaking, a good marketing professional who can strategise, execute and project manage, with specialised skills (in Facebook Ads, SEO, Web Development, eCommerce etc.) would cost $100K/year minimum.

Times that by 3 or 4 to put together a solid team that actually delivers results, and you’re looking at a half a million-dollar marketing payroll – without advertising spend!

Half that budget, and you can hire a good marketing firm that drives results daily, already has the IP, and a village of professionals ready at your disposal. You do the maths.

So, to help you make better decisions on who to hire, here’s 5 painful, self-confessed insights that marketing agencies don’t want you to know. If you come across even one of these indicators – run for your life!

They either don’t understand or don’t care about your sales

Marketers these days are experts in throwing around fluff words like “brand awareness”, “authority”, “organic traffic”, “multiple touch points” and “funnels”, which may sound impressive (and slightly confusing), but rarely do they talk about actual sales goals.

More specifically, they should be talking about “cost per click” and “lead to sales conversion” – that means how much you should expect to pay for a lead, how many leads will convert into a sale, and how much you are actually paying per customer.

One of our partner agencies, Cloud Clicks, is an expert in this. In our years working with these guys, the first question they ask in your initial meeting is: “what’s the cost of your product?”, before reverse engineering the advertising strategy to suit. This ensures that you’re not paying too much for customers, or selling products at a loss!

That is good agency practice!

They don’t understand why people really buy stuff

In his classic marketing textbook, Dr. Phillip Kotler described marketing as the combination of psychology, sociology, and anthropology. So, marketing is all things human.

Nowadays, marketers are too caught up with the latest technology and data trends, forgetting to analyse how and why people make purchasing decisions.

Facebook Ninjas and Google Adword specialists are everywhere, selling you the algorithm as a gold mine (which is partly true). However, anyone can watch YouTube tutorials to start running Facebook Ads and getting eyes to your brand. Converting those viewers to take action and engage with you is the hard part, and something not everyone can do.

Make sure those whom you hire understand buying behaviours, not just Facebook Ads. Otherwise you will find yourself drowning!

They are mostly graphic designers or IT professionals, not marketers

Frankly speaking, if all that you’re after is just pretty graphics and vague words sitting on a sophisticated WordPress backend, there are plenty of affordable options – 99Design, Design Crowd, Upwork and the likes. The amount of great talent available at a cheap price is simply overwhelming.

What keeps marketing agencies on the competitive edge is the ability to copywrite. They don’t apologise for charging a premium for a sales letter or a website wireframe.

People don’t buy because of pretty images, they buy because of the words they read or hear. Google, eBay and Gumtree don’t have the prettiest user interface, yet they turn over billions of dollars.

Following from our last point, good copywriters should not only understand buying psychology, but be able to contextualise why people should buy from you in simple words.

Albert Einstein says “if you can’t explain it to a 6 year old, you don’t understand it yourself”

When a pitching agency can explain what you do in 3 sentences, you know they are a good fit.

Confusion and eye candy are their best weapons

The best way for an agency to impress a prospect is to show them eye candy, website animations, moving sliders, eCommerce stores with 500 items; combined with geek talks on SEO and Facebook Ads – a perfect recipe to get gigs. This however, only leads to client disappointment in a matter of weeks.

Don’t let the confusion and look-good fool you, drill down on tangible results and ROI, and if the conversation revolves around “brand awareness” and “building authority” – show them the door! ]

If anyone can guarantee results – FLEE!

This one actually goes both ways – the agency and the client. Yes, we’re all after results in sales, but executing good marketing is testing. You can’t estimate if there’s no data!

So, in the early days of executing a marketing strategy, the purpose should be on collecting databases, filtering out elements that don’t work, and optimising to get the best customers for the lowest possible cost.

Agencies can guarantee traffic, especially when you’re using paid ads, but never give into the “x amount of leads in a month guaranteed” or the “5x your sales” talk.

One of the unspoken practices in our industry is to “under promise and over deliver”, so if the sales guy is promising you the world, be extremely cautious!  

While it’s important to hire a marketing agency that can strategise, execute and deliver around how and why people buy, it’s equally important for business owners to have the same understanding. Because at the end of the day, you’re the first point of call.

Every month, we meet many business owners in our Marketing Makeover Workshop eager to learn what really compels customers into a purchasing decision, and to learn the right story that takes them from traffic, to converted paying customers.

Sign up to our upcoming workshop in 2019 and revolutionise your marketing today.

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