Been battling to find the right marketing agency? What if you’re the problem?

This is a controversial topic and it’s taking the spotlight in this article.


Because the customer isn’t always right when it comes to marketing.

The story begins with good intentions

Nobody starts a business and really makes an effort to fail at it (no matter how open-minded they are).

We get it — your business is your baby, your brainchild. It represents you.

Naturally, you’d want it to thrive.

You want to find the best possible marketers, salespeople, technicians and support crew and you start off by being all of those and more.

You see every part of the business and you know exactly what it needs to level up.

Where does the road to hell start?

As with many other situations, the problems start to appear when the expert is expected to take instruction from a non-expert.

We promise, marketers respect your product knowledge, and the time you’ve spent learning about your ideal customer. There’s no ignoring the brave work that you may even do all by yourself, running a few digital ads to bring up your lead volume and revenue.

But — and here’s the bitter truth — this is where your expertise just about ends as a non-marketer, and there is no degree or short course that can qualify you beyond the knowledge and awareness of a true marketing expert of 10+ years.

Instructing your agency on how to construct their campaigns is a form of business suicide.

Your job is to point out the bullseye and then let the experts lead the way.

Your experience and knowledge won’t go to waste

We promise: the painstaking work that you’ve done up until the point you hire us will never go to waste.

You have valuable information and historical data but it requires trained minds to really understand what the business implications are.

It’s like therapy, really. We get started with the belief that one specific thing is the issue but when we unpack the root causes, the journey, and look at all the individual settings and components, we understand that it might be something totally different.

Your desperation to succeed is a threat to your success

There’s a huge difference between determination and desperation. The former sharpens your thinking and the latter diminishes it.

In desperation, the choices you make, including the instructions you give to your marketing team, can cripple your business.

Recognise any of these?

If any of these seem familiar to you, take this as an opportunity to improve, going forward:

  • “That doesn’t work. I’ve tried that.”

    Yes, you’ve tried something, but the chances are really high that you didn’t even know all of the variables involved in what you thought you were testing, so your results may not be completely valid. Let your marketer construct the test their way to get definitive results or deeper insights.

  • “This is the ad creative.”

    Your ad creative may not be optimised for what’s going to best serve your business objectives (so much more than the results shown on the ad platform interface). Be willing to test your creative against what your marketer suggests, to find out what really helps you meet the overarching business goals.

  • Confirming the budget for this month’s campaigns more than three days into the month.

    If you want control of the budgets, as in how much is available for paid campaigns, you need to deliver confirmation on time, ideally one week BEFORE the campaign month begins. Nobody can sustain delivering the right quality of result in half the required time.

  • “Please pause immediately.”

    The start-stop effect can cause more damage than running continuously with a low budget. Don’t commit to paid advertising online unless you can sustain it for at least three consecutive months. You’ll accrue more valuable data this way and have something tangible to work with for future campaigns.

  • “You can just replace it with this.”

    No, we actually can’t. There is deep psychology behind every ad image, video, sentence, callout, website page and testimonial. We know why we want to use certain components. We can test them against your suggested items and see what really works best, but there is nothing easy about replacing something we put years of experience into with something about which you thought while brushing your teeth.

  • Asking for something then ignoring it completely once it is delivered.

    Be it an audit, a strategy or a report, ask for things you’re going to use when you make business decisions. Develop the habit of leveraging your investments and leaning into the information provided by experienced marketing professionals.

Your reputation as a client

People talk.

If you’re going to jump from one agency to the next, pretty soon the best agencies will hear about the way you operate and you’ll be left with the transactional order-taking agencies who add no value to your marketing operation.

The best marketers in the world qualify their clients.

You have to earn the right to work with them, and they’re not going to bend to your will simply because you pull a few purse strings.

Are you a good enough client?

To avoid the status as a client that nobody wants, you have to show your agency that you’re worth the effort they go to, to push boundaries and crack the unique code that is your company’s marketing operation.

But how?

How do you attract top agencies and keep those relationships?

  • Explain your challenges in as much detail as you can
  • Focus on your business objectives and let the marketers translate those into marketing goals and metrics
  • Answer all the questions your marketers ask
  • Share sales and revenue information
  • Discipline yourself to work with systems and processes
  • Keep a digital journal, swipe file or folder with your ideas and let your marketers determine the best testing material and schedule
  • Read the reports and ask questions for which the answers will help you make business decisions

Your role as a startup founder (like the CEO of your business) is to develop your team and delegate responsibilities. Once you give someone a responsibility, it’s a huge marker of disrespect to still be telling them how to manage their portfolio.

You don’t enjoy it when someone does that to you so if you can curb that behaviour within yourself, you’ll experience longer lasting and more fruitful, successful working relationships with both agencies and in-house marketers.

To make the most of your existing agency relationships, you can request a marketing audit from our team to help guide you further. 

You can also appoint a Fractional CMO to strengthen your company’s leadership team and relieve you of the daunting responsibility of leading a marketing operation.

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