Many companies get all excited hiring a new marketing agency – they get promised the earth, and results are more like just one of those tiny islands off the coast of Scotland that no one can remember the name of (sorry, Harris and Lewis – they’re actually pretty epic places if you’ve never been).
Before long, you find yourself arguing with your marketing agency. Something’s gone wrong. The love affair is over.
But, maybe take a different look at it – could it be that arguing with your marketing partner is actually what your business needs?
1. Marketing agencies are supposed to challenge you.
If they’re not pushing you beyond your comfort zone and making you a teensy weency bit worried about what’s going to happen when you press ‘go’ on that campaign, then are they going to create any ripples in your customer’s market?
If the agency wasn’t challenging you, then you could do it yourself.
2. Oh, and on that note, you probably couldn’t do it yourself.
We’re not a marketing agency (although Sales does overlap a little into marketing, of course), but we recognise that it’s a fallacy to think you can actually do your marketing better than your agency. Now, in some cases, you might have a truly awful marketing partner – in which case, push the button! Get rid! Free yourself!
However, in some cases, you might need to take a look at whether YOU are standing in your own way. You’ve got way too much to do to worry about doing your own marketing, so it wouldn’t get done. Make sure your business objectives are aligned with your marketing partner, and give them a bit of free reign.
3. You have to take some risks in marketing.
Ok, so your marketing agency took their shot and it didn’t work out. You want to point the finger at them, but the thing about marketing is that it’s not an exact science. Google likes to make you think it is with all their stats and keyword research, but sometimes, things just fly. (Take a look at this infographic we did on helping dogs adjust after UK lockdown – it really took off on social media – it’s just one of those things).
Accept that you have to take some risks, sometimes they pay off and sometimes they don’t. Your marketing agency wouldn’t be doing marketing for you if every risk was guaranteed to work, they’d be drinking martinis in the Bahamas and never working again.
4. Are you too hung up on that little bit of marketing knowledge you have?
We’ve often sit in meetings in the past between the client and the marketing agency – where the client wants to do this marketing thing and that marketing thing, none of which the agency recommends. A little bit of knowledge is dangerous – it doesn’t make you an expert.
Quiz your agency to make sure they have the knowledge to back up the decisions they’re making, but don’t derail the project with your wacky ideas.
5. Is the marketing failing because of your agency, or your dull views?
Your agency can’t invent views for you, so when they come to you wanting to write a blog post, whitepaper or opinion piece, PLEASE, put some original thought into it and don’t just assume it’s the bee’s knees (that’s the nicer way of putting it).
All too often, ‘experts’ in companies trot out the same formulaic content, and the marketing agency can only jazz it up so much – the substance has to be there. If what you’re saying has been said a thousand times before, why is anyone going to read it?
6. Did you just want ‘Yes’ men and women, or a knowledgeable marketing firm?
I’ve seen situations where clients choose marketing agencies that make them feel important with swanky offices, lattes on tap, schmoozy lunches and invites to fancy events. Then lo and behold, the marketing is useless.
If the marketing agency are good, they don’t need to go to great lengths to woo you – their client roster will say it all. So check that you’re not making a business decision based on how good you’ll feel rather than how good the business will do. There’s no section on the Business Case for a marketing project that says how much cash they’ll splash on you as an individual!
What we’re getting at, is to make sure you’re firing your marketing agency for the right reasons…