10 ways a client can sabotage their marketing agency

Kevin Arrow

Starting and growing a small business is an exciting adventure, filled with potential and promise. However, as you hustle to grow, it's not uncommon to stumble across a few obstacles along the way, especially when it comes to marketing. Your digital marketing team, no matter how small, is like the heartbeat of your business, pumping life into every area and helping your business to flourish.

But sometimes, without even realising it, a small business might put obstacles in its marketing team's way, impeding growth and success. I've listed 10 common ways  which i have seen this happen, along with friendly advice to help you recognize and overcome these challenges.

1. Lack of Communication  

Communication is not just about talking; it's about connecting, understanding, and aligning with one another. When a small business and its marketing agency are not on the same page, misunderstandings happen.

Think of your business as a unique recipe that only you know. Your marketing agency is like the master chef trying to recreate that recipe. Without clear instructions from you, the chef might miss an essential ingredient or add too much of something else, resulting in a dish that doesn't taste quite right.

There is nothing more frustrating than jumping on facebook to find out your client has posted a critical udate and that's the first you have heard of it, i bet there are some of you reading this that are recognising yourself in this one..

Regular meetings, clear briefs, email updates, and an open-door policy for questions can bridge the communication gap. Share your business's vision, values, and nuances. Make sure that your marketing agency knows not just what you sell but why you sell it. In this way, they can truly become an extension of your brand, communicating it to the world in a way that resonates.

2. Not Giving Your Marketing Time to Work  

Imagine planting a seed and then digging it up every few days to see if it has sprouted. That's what it's like when you don't give your marketing strategies time to take root and grow.

Marketing, especially in the digital world, often requires time to show results. SEO strategies, content marketing, social media engagement – these are slow-burning efforts that build momentum over time.

If you keep changing directions, you're likely to disrupt the natural growth process. Instead, trust your marketing agency's expertise. They've done this before , give them the time needed to get it to work. Discuss timelines and set realistic expectations from the beginning.

Keep in mind that while some marketing strategies offer quick wins, others are about building lasting relationships with your audience. Both are essential, and patience in allowing them to work will usually pay off in the long term.

3. Openness  

Openness goes hand in hand with trust. It's like letting someone into your home, showing them around, and making them feel welcome. When you share openly with your marketing agency, you're inviting them into your business's world, allowing them to see things from your perspective, i say to all of our clients we are the equivalent of your digital marketing director for your business

This means sharing the good, the bad, and the challenging parts of your business. Your agency needs to know what makes your customers happy, what keeps you awake at night, and what your dreams are. Only with this level of understanding can they craft strategies that truly resonate with your brand.

Openness also encourages a more collaborative relationship. When your agency feels that they're part of your business, they're likely to go the extra mile, brainstorming with you, challenging ideas, and seeking innovative solutions that align perfectly with your unique business.

4. Unrealistic Expectations  

We all dream big, especially when it comes to our businesses. But setting goals that are sky-high without a ladder to reach them can lead to frustration, disappointment, and tension between you and your marketing agency.

Unrealistic expectations might be expecting to triple your audience within a month or wanting to rank number one on Google for a highly competitive keyword without substantial investment. Such goals, put a pressure on your marketing agency that just can't be achieved and leads to frustration on both sides

What's the fix? Start by having an honest conversation with your agency about what's possible within your budget and timeframe. Understand that quality marketing is often a game of patience and persistence. Set goals that are ambitious yet achievable, and celebrate the milestones along the way.

Your marketing agency wants to see you succeed, and by working together to set goals that stretch you but don't break you, you're setting up a partnership that's primed for success.

5. Insufficient Budgeting  

Budgeting is a bit like planning a trip. You wouldn't expect to travel first-class around the world on a shoestring budget. Similarly, expecting top-notch marketing campaigns without adequately funding them can set your marketing agency up for failure.

Your budget dictates the tools, channels, and resources that can be utilised. An insufficient budget may mean having to opt for less effective strategies or missing out on opportunities that could have made a significant impact.

Talk openly with your marketing agency about your budget from the beginning.  If budget constraints are a concern, discuss options and be open to creative solutions that may offer a better return on investment.

Remember, your agency wants to provide you with the best service possible, but they can only work with the resources you provide. Adequate budgeting ensures that your marketing plan is not just a wish list but a workable blueprint for success.

6. Undervaluing Marketing Expertise 

Imagine hiring a skilled carpenter and then telling them how to hammer a nail. It doesn't make much sense, does it? The same goes for hiring a marketing agency and then second-guessing their expertise.

Your marketing agency consists of professionals who have studied, experimented, succeeded, and learned from failures in the marketing field. They keep up with the latest trends, understand consumer behavior, and know how to craft messages that connect.

By undervaluing their expertise, you might hinder their ability to perform at their best. Instead, embrace a collaborative approach. Ask questions, share your thoughts, but also trust their knowledge and experience.

Consider their recommendations as valuable insights from a team that lives and breathes marketing. Their success is intertwined with yours, so allow them the creative freedom to innovate, strategise, and lead your business towards growth.

7. Not Tracking Your Marketing Properly 

Tracking your marketing efforts is like having a GPS for your business. Without it, you might be driving in the right direction, but you'll never really know if you're on the fastest route or if you've taken a wrong turn.

Not tracking your marketing efforts can leave you in the dark about what's working and what isn't. It might lead you to invest in strategies that aren't yielding results or overlook opportunities that could be game-changers.

Work with your agency to set up proper tracking and analytics. Understand the key metrics that matter to your business, such as conversion rates, customer engagement, click-through rates, phone calls, the lifetime of a customer, where they originated from and these are just a few things that may or may not be used to track your marketing

Regularly review these metrics with your agency, adjusting strategies as needed. Remember, data is not just numbers; it's a story about your customers, your business, and the journey you're on together. Proper tracking ensures that this story leads to a happy ending.

8. They Know Better  

Confidence in your business and your understanding of your market is crucial. However, the belief that you or a well meaning friend always know better than your marketing agency can create barriers to success.

Your marketing agency's perspective is valuable precisely because they are not you. They see your business from the outside, and they bring insights and expertise from working with various industries and audiences.

A ‘know-it-all' approach can stifle creativity, hinder collaboration, and lead to conflicts that divert energy from your primary goals.

Instead of insisting on having the final word, encourage a culture of collaboration and mutual respect. Value your agency's insights and be open to seeing things from a different perspective. Remember, diversity of thought often leads to more innovative and effective solutions. You musty have trust in your agency and constantly seeking external approval or feedback wont help your business progress and will damage your relationship with your digital marketing agency.

 9. Unwilling or Unable to Let the Marketing Agency Do Their Job  

Imagine going to a hairdresser and then trying to guide their scissors every step of the way. It's not only frustrating for the hairdresser but likely won't lead to the best haircut. Similarly, constantly overseeing every step of the marketing process can hamper creativity and efficiency.

Your marketing agency needs the freedom to explore, innovate, and execute strategies in line with their expertise. Micromanaging can create a culture of doubt and restriction rather than one of trust and collaboration.

The solution? Provide clear guidelines, share your expectations, but then step back and let your agency do what they do best. Regular check-ins and updates can keep you informed without interfering in the day-to-day workings.

Your agency's ability to work autonomously and creatively is one of the vital assets they bring to your business. Embrace it, and you'll likely be delighted by the fresh ideas and effective strategies they can deliver.

10. They Want It All Now  

Waiting for anything can feel frustrating. But when it comes to marketing, instant results are rarely possible, and pushing for them can lead to short-term tactics that don't align with long-term growth.

Imagine trying to bake a cake and constantly turning up the oven's temperature because you want it done faster. The result? A cake that's burnt on the outside and raw on the inside. Marketing strategies are a bit like baking; they need the right amount of time at the right temperature to come out just right.

Work with your marketing agency to understand the timelines involved in different strategies. Recognise that building brand awareness, trust, and customer loyalty takes time. It's a journey, not a sprint, and the relationships you nurture along the way can lead to lasting success.

Patience doesn't mean passivity. Stay engaged, ask for updates, and celebrate the small wins along the way. But also trust in the process, knowing that good things often take time.


Final Thoughts

Working with a digital marketing agency can be a transformative experience for your small business. It's a partnership, a collaborative effort towards shared goals. Like any relationship, it requires trust, communication, patience and understanding.

By recognising and avoiding the pitfalls outlined above, you pave the way for a successful partnership. Your agency becomes not just a service provider but a part of your business family, working with you, cheering for you, and striving to see you succeed.

Your business is your dream, and your marketing agency's role is to help that dream move forward. build this relationship, value it, and watch as your business grows and thrives in ways you might never have imagined.

Remember, we are here for those business owners ready and able to take on a small agency to drive their business forward just send us a message and let's have a chat

Kevin Arrow
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Written by Kevin Arrow

Kevin Arrow is the CEO of the Online Visibility Academy where ethical entrepreneurs can train in digital marketing skills

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