Getting The Results You Expect From Your Marketing Agency

Every client, and prospective client, Digital Monk has encountered lately has “one of those” stories – The agency they paid a ton of money to and didn’t get the results they expected. Some of these failed business relationships stem from a lack of communication, some from a lack of execution but most from a lack of clear vision and a roadmap to track accountability from both the agency and the client. Regardless of the reason it didn’t work, everyone we talk to comes with some baggage of an expensive marketing agency relationship that didn’t work out. Our team refers to this as “mending the hearts we didn’t break”.


When Digital Monk starts chatting with a new client, one of the top objections we overcome is the question, “how will I know I’m going to get what I pay for?”. There is a considerable reluctance to spend more money working with a marketing agency that promises but doesn’t deliver. We get it, you’ve been “sold a lemon” in the past and don’t want to go through that again, so we work hard to demonstrate that this time will be different. All of this said, talking with other agency owners, often clients have left them, and us if we’re being honest, and we didn’t even realize a client was unhappy. The whole point is that while there are subpar solutions out there that promise things they shouldn’t or sell you something different than what’s delivered, there are also a lot of great agencies to work with and often the issues result from miscommunication or a lack of clear cohesion.


You could take the tactic we’ve seen many take and just do everything yourself, but good social media, SEO and marketing strategies take time, energy, knowledge and experience to execute well, so you’re either stretching yourself too thin or selling your business short by not promoting it enough to the right people. Really, the best solution is working with a marketing agency that is reputable, experienced and has the track record to prove it. Let’s take a look at how you, as a busy entrepreneur, can move past the negative experiences of the past and find a great agency relationship to drive your business forward.


Finding the Right Agency Partner


That’s right, we said partner because that’s how the relationship should work. You, as the owner of a business, are a partner in your marketing strategy. Your agency’s work is only as good as the information you share, how clear you are on your vision and how invested you are in executing a strategy. In the same vein, your agency should treat you as a partner and not just a shareholder to send monthly reports to. Building a winning marketing strategy requires an integrated approach and will mean investing time and financial resources.


Here’s how to find the right marketing agency partner for your business:


●       Be Clear On What Your Needs Are – Before you even start looking for a new agency to work with, sit down and get really clear on what your business goals are. You may tend to focus on search results or the number of followers or leads an agency can get you, but what they really need to know is where you want your business to grow. From there, the agency is the expert on getting you there and will make suggestions on the best way to achieve your goals. Always refer back to how far you’ve progressed towards your goals when assessing how things are going


●       Find Alignment – Once you know exactly where you want to develop your business, look for an agency that has proven experience driving businesses towards that goal. While most agencies “do it all”, they all have certain areas of expertise and you should hire based on that alignment specifically. You should also seek alignment with your company’s core values. Your agency will need to use your brand voice in everything they do, so genuine alignment with your values is important – and it will make your personal relationship smoother as well


●       Make Sure You Are Heard – A common issue we have seen is that an agency has a proven model or “knows best” so they charge ahead with what they believe is the way to do things without truly considering who you are, what your business stands for and where you are trying to take it. Though marketing agencies are the expert at their craft, you are the expert on your business and should always be treated as such. Look for an agency that gets to know you and your business deeply before presenting a strategy and that regularly communicates with you about next steps and the direction they are moving.


●       Hire for Results – There are a lot of options out there and it can be overwhelming to sift through them all so we suggest always going back to your core values and your business goals to determine the best fit for you to work with. Hire the agency you feel is most likely to deliver the results you’re looking for, in a way that honours your brand and includes you as a partner. On a side note here, it’s also important to consider who you’ll be working with on a regular basis – if you wouldn’t have lunch with your main contact at the agency, you’re not going to enjoy working as closely with them as a marketing relationship requires



Maintaining a Great Relationship with Your Agency


Maintaining an excellent ongoing relationship with your marketing agency is all about clear expectations, accountability, trust and communication.


Clear Expectations – This one goes without saying, yet it’s the most common misstep made by both clients and agencies that leads to a negative working experience. Be very clear about what your expectations are from the beginning. Talk about what you want to see achieved, communicate your expected time frame for delivery, share how you want to be communicated with and how you expect to be involved in processes & decision making.


On the flipside, you also need to be flexible on the how’s as your agency may have their own ways of doing things based on experience and expertise. Setting clear expectations is all about creating a working relationship that honours both partners and defines how things will operate.This is not a nice to have, but a critical piece that outlines your ongoing relationship and is the backbone of getting the results you are looking for. You truly cannot afford to miss this important step when working with a new agency.


Accountability – You have your plan, you know who’s doing what, now it’s time to make it happen. This step is where so many great relationships go off the rails so make sure you’ve built a good system for tracking progress and checking in. Regular check ins on progress, results and overall how things are going are crucial. Ensure you always know what your agency is working on, how the progress is coming, what the results are and if there’s anything they may need from you.


Digital Monk uses Trello, a visual project management software, for this so our clients can see exactly what the plan is, where everything is at with the click of a button and to communicate anything we need from our clients to get the work done.


TrustOnce you’ve made a choice on an agency to work with, you need to trust them to execute on the plan you’ve crafted together and work towards the results you are looking for. Seek accountability but don’t forget that you have hired professionals to support your business so you can focus on running the business. Trust that your agency is working in your best interest and discuss any concerns or issues as they arise.


CommunicationAgain, this is critical to the success of your overall agency relationship, as well as achieving your goals. Be sure to communicate your goals & expectations upfront and speak up if anything is happening that doesn’t align for you. You’ve chosen a great agency to work with who wants to see your business thrive, so be sure to share your feedback with them so you can continue to grow your trust and successes.


Considering these aspects should help you to build an excellent relationship with an agency that can support your business goals and help you bring them to life. While nothing is ever foolproof, if you’ve hired an agency that is in alignment with your goals & values, have set realistic expectations, have a plan for transparency, accountability and execution and work to build great communication and trust, you will ultimately get a ton of value from working with a marketing agency.


If you’d like to learn more about Digital Monk’s unique process that allows us to get to know our clients intimately, support them to achieve their business goals and build a lasting partnership, reach out to us today. We’d love to share with you what makes Digital Monk different!

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