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 that needed to be rescued. But I’ve also seen a lot of common threads of why agencies and clients don’t work out together. Because even though everybody is unique and they have their own nuanced ways, there’s still common mistakes that everybody makes that clients just, for lack of a better way of saying it, freaking hate.
So let’s go through some of these mistakes so that hopefully if you’re hiring an agency, you can make sure that you can avoid them and get the right partner for you.
Number one is a lack of goal setting. So I always talk about purposes where “Where” meets “Why”. So where are we going and why are we going there. That’s purpose. That’s it. It’s really that simple. And if you lay that out from the beginning, what does success look like six months from now? What does success look like one year from now? And then you start putting some numbers on it, then everybody knows where you’re going.
Now, the number two mistake that agencies make is a reliance on vanity KPIs. Oh my gosh, 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, you know, a thousand bloggers… It’s just so disingenuous.
At the end of the day, what matters? What are the growth metrics? What do you really need to know? You know, anything that revolves around brand awareness, like “Get it out of there, man.” Like even web site traffic, who cares? Get a conversion based mentality, okay? This is the amount of leads we’re getting, this amount of sales we’re getting – its growth metrics or nothing.
The third thing that I’ve noticed is these long performance timelines. “You know it takes six months to a year to get everything to work.” Listen man, 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, leads, doesn’t matter. You should be able to get results within three to six months if everything that you’re doing is right. And where you really got 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’re going to be like, “Hey look, we went from position 85 on Google page to position 42.” Great, 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 it right at the top of that search and we can start getting a little bit of traffic and maybe some conversions, maybe some leads, maybe some sales, right? 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, right? You know, maybe it’s a little too hip. Maybe they don’t understand the target audience. Maybe they’re just talking really general because they don’t understand the client, the business. But whatever the reason, what ends up happening is, if you’re not communicating directly to that persona and 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. Okay, let’s talk about the customer journey here, all right? We have to attract the prospect, right? Then we have to connect or convert that prospect. Then we have to close that prospect into a customer and then 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’ve got to build it out so that it all makes sense, okay? This is every stage. And too often people just say, “Okay well, you know, we’re going to send traffic to the website,” and you’re like, “Okay, well, it’s not converting.” “Well, hey, you know, we sent the traffic, that’s what we’re supposed to do.” Follow the entire journey – attract, connect, close, delight – and know exactly what to do and know exactly how to increase those conversions and those deals and, then 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. But it seems like everyone gets really excited to “Hey, we’re working together.” And then it’s like “Okay,” but it’s not super clear and that kind of goes back to that purpose, right? When you put those goals together, that’s step one. But really 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 making sure that “Hey, I hope you understand that it needs to be like this or needs to be like that.” And if you can convey those expectations, then you’re really going to be able to bond with that client and you’re going to be able to give them a great agency experience.
So, I hope that this was valuable for you. I hope if you’re looking to hire an agency, you can look at some of those different areas, or maybe they’ve fallen short, and then 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.