5 Ways to Avoid the Digital Marketing Horror Story

After years of working with clients and listening to their frustration about previous Digital Agencies, we realized that it was the time that someone stepped up and did things differently. Horror story after horror story drove us to a place where we understood why companies were hesitant to engage with our current employers. We spent hours asking ourselves how these situations occurred and more importantly how did people not see through this? Regardless of the answers, we knew we had to do something about it. That is where the “Anti-Agency” approach was born.

As we sit here today with our own company, doing our own thing, we are realizing that there is a different way to go about business that leaves clients feeling grateful for our service, openness, willingness to help, and honesty. We understand that there are many other companies out there that operate on the same premise that we do, and for that we are thankful. Also, we realize that many of these amazing agencies that I am proud to call our competition may have been falsely accused of dropping the ball when in fact it was a little bit more on the client side that things got messed up. I would like to just share a few insights on how to avoid the “horror stories” when working with a digital marketing partner.

5 Keys Success:

  • Hold on to the keys
  • Communicate Regularly
  • Do what is Recommended
  • Check for Understanding
  • Expect Reasonable Results


Hold on to the keys:

I want to ask you a question. If you purchase a new car does the dealership have all the access to the car or do they give you the keys? Of course, they give you keys. So why does it make sense for a company to build you a website but hold on to control of the cPanel, site logins, analytics accounts, etc? It doesn’t at all. Many companies we talk to, more particularly small companies who just want to gain traction digitally but have limited knowledge find themselves in a place where they have no access to their site, therefore are unable to do anything. Please make sure that you drive away with the keys.

On the other side of the coin if you do have access to your website and all your accounts make sure that you give your new digital partner access to what they need to be successful. We have had cases where trying to hold on the keys went a little too far. Maybe offer them your spare set of keys.



Communicate Regularly:

One of the biggest barriers to a successful digital campaign is a lack of communication between client and agency. We require that our clients agree to bi-weekly if not weekly calls to ensure that we are constantly on the same page when it comes to the campaign. In these calls is where most of collaboration and power plays come alive. As a client, you must consider this time as time invested into your business and hold on a bit of a pedestal as it can make or break a campaign. Not to mention you are paying these people to make magic happen, why would you just sit back and be silent?

This goes back to the original conversation where we discussed why some campaigns were nightmares. Although rare we have had some clients that were just not very open to communicating so getting anything done was impossible. Although we may have deemed that campaign a failure and they left probably thinking that we failed them. Much of the issue lied with them and their unwillingness to communicate. Moral of the story, be open and willing to speak to your partners regularly. It helps everyone out.


Do what is Recommended

This is a bit of a sticky subject but as someone who regularly works in this space, we felt it would be important to address. Part of what we do is consult, diagnose, and fix problems with company’s websites. Many of these problems, if fixed could result in huge gains and ultimately sales.  The only problem is there are times where recommendations don’t exactly get applied and therefore the campaign becomes a bit of stalemate. This never has and never will end well.

Although we are not saying just to do everything with blind faith or without asking questions for understanding at the end of the day, you or your company has decided to hire someone to fix what they feel is broken. It would be a best practice to make sure that every effort is made to work with them and trust that they know what they are doing. A little faith can go a long way.


Check for Understanding

Our company has an extremely open-door policy when it comes to this, but it is my understanding that is not always the case. As a company one of our cornerstones to growth is educating our clients on what we are doing and why rather than the secret sauce that we hear about so often. As a client, you have the right to ask a few extra questions to ensure that you understand what is going on and why it is happening. Remember, you are paying for the services to improve your companies outlook.

Now, I must tread lightly here because what I am recommending can be a little dangerous due to the fact that there are those that tend to ask too many questions. This, in turn, can become a problem because although you do pay for services you have to remember that you are not the only person doing so.  There must be a limit at some point but feel free to want to be in the know.


Expect Reasonable Results

The biggest battle never won is with the client who has unreasonable expectations of your services. We take this matter extremely seriously as we never want to find ourselves in a situation where we promised the moon and only delivered a pebble. In this situation, it is the responsibility of the agency to ensure that expectations and ground rules are set in the beginning but that does not excuse the client to have all the expectations in the world. We all want the world without having to pay much for it but avoiding the over-inflated expectations can really assist in going places you never thought you could.

Leave a Reply