3 Ways to Avoid Becoming a Hot Mess After Hiring a Marketing Agency

Interviewing a marketing agency and deciding if you should hire them presents a daunting task for most CEOs.  In all honesty, it can end up becoming a more challenging task than executing your marketing strategy.   The wrong agency can great a lot of heartache down the wrong. With so many “marketing specialist” out there…how do you know you will hire the right one?

  • They tell you what you need to hear and NOT what you want to hear. Let’s be honest, any agency out there can take a small business’ current strategy and run with it.  Does this mean that the results achieve the goals you set?  No!  Most likely, the marketing strategy you developed for your company didn’t work for a reason.  As the old saying goes: stupidity (not Insanity) is doing the same thing over and over with the same results.  Do we compromise with our clients over strategy on occasion?  Of course, but we don’t compromise to the point it impacts results.  If an agency tells you that your current strategy is the wrong approach (and your results have proven that true) then put your ego aside and take a moment to listen.  Remember, you didn’t call them in the first place because you were knocking it out of the park, did you?
  • Marketing agency should never “guarantee” results….EVER!  Do we think we can fairly predict results of an upcoming marketing campaign?  We never guarantee results because WE NEVER have complete knowledge of everything going on behind the scenes.  We don’t know how you are running your social media campaign, if your sales team follows up on leads coming from your website, or possibly unaware of a complete revamping of your business strategy and services offered.  How can we not be aware of these things?  They are simple data points to know, correct?  Every one of these situations we have firsthand experience,  Unless we are sitting in the CEO’s office  24/7 and privy to every single conversation then we can’t guarantee we know everything we need to know…therefore we can never 100% guarantee results.
  • They don’t do projects free of charge “for the exposure”. Don’t get me wrong, we are not saying that an agency should never do a free project.  Some agencies make the choice to donate time to charities in the same way that we do one quarterly non-profit project.  We made the decision to do this because we feel a moral obligation due to how we have been blessed in life.  What we do NOT do is run projects based on “I can give you exposure” or “I will send you lots and lots of referrals”.  Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE referrals.  Referrals or exposure does equate an acceptable payment for business.   As my business partner, Brad Miller says, “if you don’t pay for our time then you are not going to find value in what we do.”

Truth: If you aren’t paying for our time then you lack any emotionally investment in seeing our services successful because you have no “skin in the game”.

Choosing a marketing agency is about as terrifying as choosing a good spouse or a new hairdresser (ok, so maybe there is a slight difference in those two)!  The emotional aftermath can leave you pacing the halls at night.  I can’t guarantee that if you chose to use an agency that meets all three standards above that the agency you hire will exceed your goals.  I will say that they will be conducting their businesses in a morally responsible fashion and they have a long history of experience and both contribute to a positive ROI.


Smart Ideas. For Free.

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Kelley Shaw

Creative Director

Bringing Ideas To Life

Kelley’s role at RTL Digital Media covers a spectrum of design and production functions, including animation, catalog design, and trade show design with an e-commerce focus. She puts extra energy and life into our clients’ projects.  She knows how to make design fit perfectly—and strategically—into an organization’s branding and messaging.

Kelley’s experience includes directing the creative and artistic vision for Geneologie, an online and catalog fashion resource.  In three years, she was promoted four times, leading the in-house promotional marketing efforts. She built the vision, strategy and delivery teams that focus on Direct Mail pieces including catalogs, apparel, packaging, and design production.

Kelley previously served in a designer capacity assisting Americasmart, creating product displays, and was an intern with Denmark Ad Agency, where she created presentations, print graphics, and branding packages. She has received awards for her designs and invests her personal time with charities donating artistic help, graphics, and mentoring.