THE BLOG
06/04/2015 08:01 pm ET Updated Jun 04, 2016

The Problems With Your Marketing Agency

It's hard to avoid marketing agencies.  There seem to be more marketing agencies and experts than there are businesses to benefit from their help. Are these four common marketing agency problems holding you back from winning business? Let's find out.

1. They Kill Your Profits - Most agencies charge on a retainer or fixed amount for specific jobs.  Then, usually it's at a very high rate.  The difference between a good marketing agency and every other marketing agency is fairly significant.   Good marketing agencies get you more leads, business opportunities and sales.  They are an investment and have impact that you can easily quantify.  Any other kind of marketing agency is an expense.  You pay them for pretty pictures, copywriting, development and other things. Those tasks are definitely useful and you need them, but most agencies charge for too much for that sort of regular activity. Don't be silly and pay $15,000 for a website or $100,000 for a new logo. Do you really think a logo makes a difference in this day in age? Look around! We live in a world where, whether we admit it or not, education means less than experience (who'd you hire to market your stuff?  Someone with four years of marketing experience or a fresh grad with a four-year marketing degree?)

2. They are good at what they know - There are very few full-service marketing agencies.  They know what they know and subcontract what they don't.  The term 'marketing agency' is used to describe web development companies, graphic design houses, online/SEO companies, app developers, marketing consultants or PR/writing teams. Sure, a graphic design house may have people that can do up a snazzy website, but it's probably not their expertise. So why should you pay a premium for them to do it when they aren't experts?  Agencies usually have core things they are good at.  So does yours.

3They are obsolete - Agencies can easily get stale in today's tech-driven marketing world.  If your marketing agency or marketing manager proudly boasts that they are 'computer illiterate' that's a pretty good example of a partner that may not last.  Right now, things like inbound/content marketing and marketing technology are all the rage.  These tactics and strategies work, but in a few years these phenomena will become the standard.  What happens when every business in your industry starts attracting business with great content or they all use marketing automation to nurture leads through the sales cycle? At that point, you'll need to distinguish yourself and your marketing tactics again.   Will your marketing agency keep you ahead of the curve or chasing it? Agencies are so heavily utilized by their customers that it's hard for many of them to stay abreast with new tactics.

4 - They aren't industry driven - Right now most marketing agencies promote themselves to market to small or mid-sized businesses in any industry.   The evolution of the marketing agency will be to market to specific types of small- to mid-sized businesses.  Can a car salesperson really sell software? The tactics may be the same, but in this day in age people want to buy... and not necessarily be sold to.  All marketing agencies fighting for business from small businesses all sound the same to a business. The marketing agency you pick in the future should have a focus on your specific industry vertical to help you get new customers and become proven commodities at winning businesses for customers in a particular industry. A jack of all trades is a master of none.

The marketing agency world is getting bigger by the day.  Self-proclaimed 'experts' are everywhere, but you don't know where to turn or which agency is the right fit for you.  Need more help? Here's a useful marketing agency contract and ebook on how to hire a marketing agency.