6 Ways Agencies Fail Their Clients
By Austin LaRoche, ATAK Interactive CEO
Are you thinking of hiring a marketing agency? If you are, being aware of the mistakes that can lead to misalignment between an agency and client is crucial when looking for the right partner. With over 12 years of marketing agency experience, Austin LaRoche, ATAK Interactive CEO, has boiled it down to 6 common threads of why agencies and clients don’t work out well in this episode of B2B Marketing Agency Insights.
Video transcription below:
Welcome back to B2B Marketing Agency Insights. I’m your host, Austin LaRoche. Today, we’re talking about six ways agencies fail their clients.
In over 12 years of working in a B2B marketing agency, I have seen all sorts of horror stories. But I’ve also seen a lot of common threads as to why agencies and clients don’t work out together. Because even though everybody is unique and they have their own nuanced ways, there are still common mistakes that everybody makes that clients just – for lack of a better way of saying it – freaking hate.
Let’s go through some of these mistakes so that hopefully if you’re hiring an agency, you can make sure that you avoid them and get the right partner for you.
Number one is a lack of goal setting. I always talk about purpose as “Where” meets “Why: where are we going and why are we going there. That’s purpose. That’s it. It’s really that simple. If you lay that out from the beginning, you’ll need to answer questions like this: what does success look like six months from now? What does success look like one year from now? When you start putting some numbers to it, then everybody will know where you are going.
Now, the number two mistake that agencies make is a reliance on vanity KPIs. If you had to tell me every single time I saw a PR agency talk about impressions because they push something through a PR Newswire or send a mass pitch to a thousand bloggers… It’s just so disingenuous.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. What matters are growth metrics; what are your growth metrics? What do you really need to know? Anything that revolves around brand awareness is irrelevant – “Get it out of there, man.” Same with website traffic; who cares? Get a conversion based mentality. This is the number of leads we are getting; this is the number of sales we’re getting. It is growth metrics or nothing.
The third thing that I have noticed is long performance timelines. “You know it takes six months to a year to get everything to work.” Listen, this is the digital marketing age. We can start running ads tomorrow and figure out if people are going to be converting, either as customers or leads. You should be able to get results within three to six months if everything that you’re doing is right. Where you really have to watch out is when you get locked into a big-time contract with this mindset of “Oh wait a minute, it’s not going to work for the first six months”, because the truth is you’re going to get so impatient. You really are. You are going to think, “Hey look, we went from position 85 on the Google SERP to position 42.” Great, but who cares? You’re not number one so it doesn’t matter. Why don’t you just pay some money to Google AdWords and get your site right at the top of the search page so that we can start getting a little bit of traffic and maybe some conversions, leads, or sales. So, don’t – don’t, don’t, don’t – fall trap to the “Hey, it takes a really long time for this to work” because it really doesn’t.
Next is communicating your value to your target audience. Too many times marketing agencies write and communicate the way they would, which can be a little too hip. Maybe they don’t understand the target audience. Maybe they’re just talking generally because they don’t understand the client or business. But for whatever reason, what ends up happening is this: if you’re not communicating directly to that persona even though you know exactly what they need to hear, what their customer hesitations are, and how to get over that hump, then it just falls flat. So watch out for that.
Number five – they don’t understand the marketing to sales map. Let’s talk about the customer journey here. We have to attract the prospect, right? Next, we have to connect or convert that prospect. Then, we have to close that prospect into a customer, and finally, we have to delight that customer. If you don’t know what you’re doing at every single one of those stages in your marketing, then there is absolutely no reason for you to be doing any marketing whatsoever – because nothing is working together and nothing is playing. You have to create that whole roadmap. You have got to build out every stage so that it all makes sense. Too often, agencies will just say, “We’re going to send traffic to the website.” And when you ask, “Okay, well, why it is not converting?”, they will just counter with, “Well, hey, you know, we sent the traffic, that’s what we were supposed to do.” So the tip here is to follow the entire journey – attract, connect, close, delight. Know exactly what to do and how to increase those conversions or deals to achieve growth.
Lastly, agencies do a really poor job at clearly conveying expectations, and it happens in all sorts of different areas. It can happen with budget. It can happen with scope. It can happen with results. Conveying expectations is really about making sure that the client knows at all times what to expect, why something is a certain way, and, if there’s going to be a problem, getting ahead of that problem and reassuring them with “Hey, I hope you understand that it needs to be like this or needs to be like that.” If a marketing agency can convey those expectations, then they are really going to be able to bond with you and you’ll get a great agency experience.
So, I hope that this was valuable to you. I hope if you’re looking to hire an agency, you can look at some of those different areas. Or if maybe your agency has fallen short, I hope you can recognize that there are better options out there. There are companies that really do care about your growth, your success, and really want to hang their success on your success. And that’s ultimately what you’re looking for at the end of the day.
So thank you again for watching B2B Marketing Agency Insights. Again, I’m Austin LaRoche, CEO of ATAK Interactive, saying, “Good luck growing.”
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