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4 Reasons Why People Hate Marketing Agencies

Ad-Ios Shots

Those of us who have been in this industry for several years have seen a common theme; clients being burnt out on marketers in general.  I cannot tell you how many new client meetings have started with a horror story about the past.  It’s so common in fact, that we just expect that part of every initial conversation will involve a “re-introduction” if you will, to digital marketing.   This simultaneously creates both a great opportunity for fulfillment  and a challenging barrier to overcome.  Every client just wants to sell a product or service.  Marketers can seem extremely confident and energized but know just enough to be dangerous.  As a business owner, you shouldn’t feel intimidated that you don’t know everything about how digital marketing works (SEM, SEO, Geo fence, contextual targeting, on and on).  It’s YOUR money and how you spend it should make you feel less stressed, not more stressed.  Unfortunately, that’s often not the case and here’s 4 reasons why people hate marketing agencies.

1. They love to talk over your head.

The very first thing we teach new employees  is to give precise, short answers.  I love when someone wants to get extremely granular with things like SEO or web development.  I spend hours a day doing these things, am passionate about it and love to talk it through.  This is the exception though, not the rule.  Most clients just want to know that you have a strong understanding of the process and an experienced skill set.  Other than that, they will tune you out if you get too technical.  We believe in the philosophy of speaking last (Simon Sinek gives more details in this video).  This way you have to wait, you have to listen to each piece, you have to build an understanding about why the client is passionate about what they have created.  It is extremely important for an agency to have incredibly in-depth knowledge about everything they provide, but it’s not important to showcase it like a presentation for a college class.  The most important aspect of these conversations is to build a relationship.  So many pieces of the agency-client relationship revolve around trust and common direction to be successful.  If communication isn’t strong, don’t expect great results.

2. Pricing is hidden.

Nothing makes people more upset than having no idea what they spent their money on.  It is incredibly easy to hide money from clients in marketing.  All the different fees and cost structures, CPM and optimization.  No wonder this is a major cause of anxiety and burnout for businesses who have been scammed before.  Even as a skilled and experienced digital agency, we often have to spend significant time figuring out exactly how other agencies are stealing from you.  Many business owners get a gut feeling that something is wrong and call us to consult for a bit.  Digital marketing isn’t a set it and forget it industry (although that’s what agencies do A LOT).  Instead it’s a super fast paced, daily changing and complex industry that demands constant attention.  This is why pricing structures need to be discussed and planned with transparent detail.  Both parties need to make money to stay in business, but the bigger goal is that both succeed so each can continue to support the other.  Unfortunately, this isn’t the case often.  The majority of lost money is based on someone not paying attention.

3. The promises are insane.

The #1 criticism we hear for this industry is that someone promised something and never even came close to producing it.  I don’t mean a little promise, more along the lines of “thank goodness you found us because now your business is set” type promise.  The problem here is that before being burned, business owners often don’t realize that the excited marketer is just pitching something they can neither prove, nor have done before.  For example, if someone says they will triple your sales, then ask for a case study where they have done that previously.  If someone says they will rank you on the first page of Google, ask if what they will rank you for ever actually gets searched.  1,000,000 impressions means nothing if it’s on a website that no one visits or if the impression is served to someone who would never be your customer.  The most important lesson here is to ask for proof.  If the agency can’t provide it; walk away.  In the same way an experienced doctor has a good feeling about what a sickness “might” be based on experience, we can often look at current trends, your past data and information to make a strong guess at the most likely outcome.  This guess cannot be turned into an ironclad promise.  If the promise seems to go against everything you have ever known about your business, ask for past results. 

4. The talent that sold you isn’t the talent handling your business.

Marketing Agencies need to sell marketing to you to stay in business.  This happens 1 of 2 ways.  Either they are actually good, know what they are doing and have achieved success for others OR they send someone in to see you who is an amazing sales person and says all the right things.  Technology has grown and continues to grow at an astounding pace.  Moore’s Law is the observation that computer technology doubles every 18-24 months.  You’ve probably heard someone say that technology doubles every 2 years or something along those lines.  Although not 100% true, technology growth is exponential.  This means that keeping up with a medium that is totally based in technology requires people who constantly learn and evolve.  Often the face of agencies are the best and brightest.  They can talk you through everything and they make you feel excited and ready to take over the world with their products.  This often comes crashing down when what you saw initially seems unrecognizable to what is being produced.   It’s no surprise that this difference can really destroy the agency-client relationship.

Together we believe that we can begin to change this trend.  By working together with realistic goals and strong tools, the 4 reasons above can begin to become just a past memory.  If you hate digital marketing, then you are our favorite type of client.  We have changed so many client’s minds that it’s become something we really enjoy seeking out.   AD-IOS sells a reduction in stress, not just marketing to boost your conversions.



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Faith Kolberg - Business Development Coordinator


Enjoys the outdoors, traveling, and visiting local coffee shops! 

Lisa Annunziata - Director Of Operations


I am a God-fearing mother! I love me some cats. My family keeps me going, I love to be in the sun and just really enjoy life wherever I am and no matter the situation!

Crysta Geis - President/Founder of Ad-ios


Mom of 3 and Nana to one grandbaby so I’m obsessed with my little family whether it be at the baseball fields or on the lake my kids keep me on the go 24/7. Anytime we get away from the kids we love to travel.