When we started our agency, we drew on our experiences working at other agencies for not only how we wanted to run our company, but also for exactly what to do differently. Large agencies are often chock full of junior employees that clients pay a premium to interact with to handle their accounts. It’s well known that those types of agencies can also be bloated with complacent directors and self-proclaimed experts whose ideas are stale. You may also find the old school agency types who are resistant to change and especially resistant to embrace digital because they don’t understand it. To them, it’s "stick with what you know," which is print, radio and TV, but that doesn’t cut it anymore. Based on our firsthand experience and pain points clients have shared with us about working with their previous technology and marketing partners, we’ve put together a list of reasons to break up with your agency and never look back!
Your marketing and technology partner should be able to disclose to you exactly how the hours you pay for have been used and the types of results those hours have produced. You should also have access to your own digital analytics, social media accounts, and pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, etc. For example, if you have a digital marketing agency running your PPC campaigns, not only should you be able to sign in to your Google Ads or Microsoft Ads account whenever you want to but your agency should be regularly sending and walking you through reports with easy-to-understand data. You shouldn’t have to wonder about the type of service level your PPC account is getting. Ultimately, you should own those accounts and your agency should have access and management rights, not the other way around. Beware if they don’t want you to have access, try to confuse you with buzzwords, or claim it’s proprietary information and cannot explain it to you. That’s a red flag that they don’t know what they are doing or are not actually spending the time on your campaigns that they claim they are. Which leads to our next point….
Digital marketing and technology are certainly complex. One of the goals for digital agencies should be to help make it less complex and stressful for their clients, not to add to it. They should distill the information down to something digestible when possible and work to not overcomplicate what they are explaining. Admittedly, it’s not always easy when we are used to using certain words that are common in the digital space, but it is important to try. Your agency should not make it seem like digital marketing or technology is too elusive to understand. We are dedicated to staying on top of digital trends, the latest technology, and the ever-changing Google algorithms and new features. We don’t expect our clients to do the same. That’s what we are here for. But the difference is, we want our clients to understand what we are doing and we are always happy to teach them when they want to learn, not aim to confuse them so they are too intimidated to even try.
This alone is definitely not a reason to break up with your agency but it should have you asking questions. If their rate seems far lower than other agencies, find out why. Do they outsource overseas? If so, will the overseas team members be on calls with a translator that you also pay for? (We’ve seen this happen.) Are they stating a low hourly rate but then plan to have the whole team on every single meeting and charge you the hourly rate per person? Are you paying a lower rate but they are taking 3x as long to complete projects? Or do they just plan to have junior-level employees working on the account so that they can afford the lower rate they quoted you to win the business? If so, be very aware of the Bait & Switch.
Did your agency court you with lavish dinners and beautiful presentations given by a team of people you now never talk to? Do you even know the team who is actually working on your business now or do you only have access to the junior account manager handling the day-to-day? One of the aspects we are proud of at CTRL+ALT Digital is that everyone is senior-level so you will never be handed off to someone junior. We also never outsource overseas. Although our clients have a streamlined point of contact, access to the leadership team and those executing the work on your account is always available.
There is absolutely no excuse for a lack of communication with the tools available now. If your agency doesn’t respond to you within a reasonable timeframe, it’s simply time to move on.
In the end, it’s also very important to like the agency you partner with (Our CEO/Co-Founder, Jen Stafford, was recently quoted on UpCity on this very topic!). Respect must absolutely go both ways and it must be viewed as a partnership with both parties invested in the success of the business. If you have a good agency and you are a good client, chances are they are thinking about your business way more than the hours you are paying for and it shows. If you have digital marketing or technology needs, let’s see if we’re a fit!