The 5 Myths of Working with a Marketing Agency

One of the greatest challenges in hiring a marketing company is overcoming age-old myths about working with them. Whether it’s an unfortunate story of over-promising and under-delivering, or even the media’s portrayal in shows like Mad Men, perception certainly does not equal reality.

Here are a few common myths we at 212 Media Studios take great pleasure in being able to debunk:

  1. Marketing companies are too expensive. The perception is that agencies spend huge sums of money just to entertain two martini lunches and a large dose of glitz and glamour. There was a day when some agencies dumped these costs into a “miscellaneous expense” category for billing. Thankfully, these practices have gone away as firms have focused on providing value and measurable results. The items included in a proposal are clearly spelled out and transparent to the client—whether it’s a single project estimate or an ongoing campaign. When changes in scope or specifications occur, they are re-estimated for the client to consider prior to moving forward. Flexibility in meeting client budgets, both large and small, is the sign of a marketing firm that is truly interested in long-term partnerships.
  2. The learning curve is too steep for them to understand our products and markets. Clients who think that their industry experience cannot be fully conveyed to an outside source often raise this objection. Certainly, knowing a business through a background that is informed over time is irreplaceable, but the opposite is also true. An individual’s perspective within his/her industry can become myopic and stale, and not open to an outside voice that is fresh and objective. This is the very reason a marketing firm is hired—to bring new ideas to the table. Our number one job is to learn your industry and determine your buyer persona so we can reach them more effectively.
  3. After we sign a contract, the senior account people will disappear. In some instances, agencies have a reputation for bringing in the top brass for a pitch and then assigning the day-to-day account handling to the junior staff. This can lead clients to believe that they are not important enough to sustain the attention of top management. At 212 Media Studios, we operate as a team and rely on each team member’s strengths to address a client’s unique marketing challenges. If it’s a social media strategy, I have “go to” people on our staff, and conversely, if a customer’s media mix includes traditional media, my teammates often come to me. By working together, our staff—from the CMO to the designer—is kept in the loop. One of the tools we use for getting to know our clients’ business more deeply is the “Story Retreat.” This is an intensive one- or two-day review of an organization’s products or services, as well as their markets, in order to know how to grow their brand’s influence and customer base. This involves all of the key personnel from our team.
  4. Advertising firms are not accountable for results. This grows out of the myth that an agency can spend the client’s money without regard to effectiveness. For one, any marketing company that does this will not be in business for long. Most reputable firms will not only identify project costs, but also advise as to the level of response a client can anticipate. Today’s metrics of measuring campaign success are far more advanced and comprehensive in reporting results than at any time in the past.
  5. If I partner with a marketing agency, they will know too much about my business and make a pitch to my competitor. This myth boils down to the element of trust. Can I trust a professional marketing firm to not disclose my valuable inside information to others in my industry? The code of ethics for any supplier applies—whether it’s someone in marketing or in the development of the product. Certainly, non-disclosure agreements can be signed for an extra measure of security. However, as a professional marketer, why would I endanger a strong, mutually beneficial relationship with an existing client to gain what “might be” with another? Again, the strength of the relationship and professional integrity are the safeguards of this and any business partnership. If you don’t feel comfortable bringing your marketing group into your confidence, then it is time to find one that merits your trust.

212 Media Studios values strong client relationships and works at making the customer experience satisfying. If you would like to learn more, please contact us. We look forward to not just debunking the myths, but making a refreshing difference.