The relationship you have with your marketing agency might be solid. They may seem to know their stuff. They might even appear to be doing all the right sort of things and be prepared to give you plenty of their time.
So, why is it that you’re still not seeing any return on your investment?
There are a few possibilities...
1) Perhaps it’s you?
Maybe no matter who the marketing agency, the outcome would always be disappointing. Your product or service just isn’t very marketable. Then again, somebody managed to raise $334,000 to fund their cat treadmill idea, so it can’t be you...
2) Perhaps it’s your customers?
They’re an elusive bunch. Just when you think you’ve got one in the net, they wriggle free in the direction of your competitors. Then again, they don’t all go that way – some even become advocates of your brand, so it can't be that, either...
3) Perhaps it all boils down to budget?
Funds are finite. Anything’s achievable when you have unlimited money to throw around. But, what about all those small businesses who achieve growth on a shoestring? It can be done, so budget can't be the reason, either.
So, what is the reason?
You'll probably call me crazy for giving you this answer. After all, I work in marketing for a living. But I honestly believe most agencies fail because they will try to do too much marketing.
Often marketing agencies will just focus on your marketing without looking at the whole picture. And who can blame them? It's what they know.
Sadly, though, looking at marketing in isolation can limit your business' growth potential in a big, big way.
To stick up for agencies a little bit, the nature of engagement with marketing means that it’s technically ‘out of their remit’ to understand how other departments work (particularly sales and operations) so they can’t begin to think about aligning other department's strategies. Their expertise and knowledge lies solely in marketing, in design, in communications rather than in business strategy as a whole.
This is why initially you'l probably see some decent results when you look at your vanity metrics: you might have jumped up the search engine rankings, be generating more web traffic and maybe even have some more social media followers.
"Surely it IS working, then?"
Sadly, not. Just as in football, it doesn't matter how much possession you have, how many throw ins you get and how many passes your midfield has strung together if you're not scoring any goals off the back of it.
Crucially, if you’re not making any more money, it's a waste of everyone's time.
What you need is an agency that has the capability to understand how your entire business operates - not just marketing - and can align the relevant departments.
For these agencies, the objective is not just to generate leads, but to convert and retain them. That involves working with your sales and operations teams, as well as the marketing department. After all, it’s the former who’s responsible for delivering on the marketing messages.
These type of agencies will work with operations to create processes which maximise efficiency and delivery, and align capabilities with the demands of the market.
They’ll also work with sales to create processes, fitting for the organisation, that align with marketing campaigns to nurture leads into customers.
Some agencies focus solely on marketing; others look at the whole business.
If you want proper growth, a concerted effort between departments is crucial.
So, how do you make sure the agency you hire is right for you?