Recently, I’ve found myself discussing and debating more issues than I can shake a stick…
As a business owner and having spoken to and interviewed other marketing services companies on the blog, we often come across clients who have been burnt by previous experiences with other agencies.
From lack of understanding as to what was achieved or delivered, to over promising and under delivering; whatever the reason the client can only see how many months of time and budget was spent to not be happy or failure to move their business to where they expected.
It’s hilarious how we have so many books, courses, seminars on romantic relationships but when it comes to how to make your relationship with your agency work, (oh only an important relationship that can impact your business and its success)…. the same mistakes are being made.
So as your friend, consider this an intervention – we need you to stop fraternising with the wrong agencies in PR, digital or social, not only for your own sanity but it’s doing our (the good guys’) reputation no good!
Here are the four top common mistakes companies make when choosing an agency:
The Glamour of Style But Little Substance
Sometimes you hear of how a client has been lured by the wrong agency – it’s like something out of a Vampire movie. Their name is a seductive whisper across the industry’s lips, beautifully designed social media pages, the effortlessly looking proposals, the impressive client roster. Yes – this is a big league agency with promises that will take you to the big league tables. They lure you in and before you know it you’ve been sucked in, bled dry and spat out like the numerous clients before.
SOLUTION: Dig a little deeper beyond the vanity hire – speak to previous clients, especially ones who have changed agencies. Find out what the relationship will be like – who will be working on your account full time. What are the targets and how will their activity impact the goals you have for the business? If they’re a big agency, how do they work and support their smaller clients?
Upside Down Thinking
If I had a pound for every time a client has asked me ‘What marketing activity will you do for me and my business?’ It’s like walking into the doctor’s and asking ‘What medicine will you give me?’ Until you explain the symptoms (challenges, goals and targets) – any agency can’t diagnose the right course of action with your marketing.
Likewise, many agencies – especially full service agencies – have a range of activity they can offer. If you ask them what marketing activity they can do, they’ll sure enough reel off a list of exciting options. Of course they will, they want your money and a case study to show they’re trying out new platforms and need someone who will be their guinea pig. It’ll sound good, exciting even progressive and you’ll choose to work with them based on the activity.
SOLUTION: Ensure you choose the right agency interested in your business, it’s goals and where their approach is more focussed and aligned to help you achieve your targets.
Budget Expectation Vs Reality
When it comes to budget – client expectations vs client reality are two very different things. Let’s be honest in a happy world, you’d have plenty of budget to out-smart, out-pay and out-play all your competitors in their marketing activity. Alas, that’s just not the reality. Many clients forget to see the long game and decide to go all in and then have no money for follow up activity and we all know that the marketing long game is about consistency.
SOLUTION: If you can’t afford to commit budget to the dream level of marketing activity, rather than trying to do everything at once poorly, choose an agency that will have your budget in mind and will help you strategically build your activity that is affordable but effective.
You’ll Ignore Your Instinct
Everything seems great, all looks good on paper but ultimately something’s not quite right with the chemistry. But you ignore it and wait to find out in three months (also three months’ worth of fees) as to why it’s not working out as planned.
SOLUTION: Not trying to sound woo-woo here but trust your gut. If you’re not convinced something’s as it seems, do some more digging. As a firm believer in that the best team share the same values and vision and will work better together to achieve the same goal – get to know your agency a little more, who’s the team that will be working with you on your business. Check references and testimonials, question them some more about their approach and also how the agency will service you as a client before you commit to your budget.
Want to hear from some other good agencies and marketing services about how they work and what you can expect? Then check out our blog or sign up to our newsletter to receive these features directly to your inbox.
UPDATE: We’re also hosting our next webinar on April 6th 2017 at 10 a.m (GMT) to provide more tips and insights on how to hire the right agency to help you boost your business. Click here to sign up and book your space.