Using an outsourced marketing team can grow and increase the visibility of your brand. At much less than the cost of one full-time executive, you get an entire team of experts, and your team will benefit from the experience that the marketing team you hire brings to the table, such as their familiarity with your industry and ability to identify current industry trends.

A marketing agency will only benefit your brand if you’re working with the right team. Here’s a guide to recognizing when it’s time to part ways with your current agency and go in a different direction. 

They Guarantee Results

The formal assurance of an outcome is an immediate red flag. Even with historical data around components such as seasonality and customer segments, it’s difficult to ensure that you can meet an ROI from digital. Volatility and macro-factors, such as competitor campaigns and bids, create many campaign unknowns that are nearly impossible to predict.

Due to false promises, Hubspot reports via Econsultancy that only about 22 percent of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates. Respect the agency that guarantees sound processes, work product, creative and analytical thinking, respect, and collaboration, but don’t let your guard down when an agency guarantees quantitative results. It can be an indicator that you shouldn’t work with them. 

They’re Excuse-Oriented

Especially when it comes to qualitative work, if an agency isn’t getting work done efficiently and taking ownership of the deliverables they promised, it’s another red flag. Whether it’s hiring experts to help with your PPC campaigns, social media campaigns, or email marketing campaigns, working with a consultancy should be a collaboration, not a competition. Silly finger-pointing and lack of accountability and ownership, especially when results aren’t ideal, is a sign that you’re with the wrong growth partner.

They Lack Transparency

It’s not acceptable for an agency to limit your access to reporting, accurate data, platforms, and tools. They should be sharing all of the relevant information they have, from industry reports to marketing materials that they develop for your brand.

You hired them, and it’s your business they are supporting. Visibility throughout the partnership is a crucial factor in determining your success when working with an agency. 

Their Work Requires Too Many Rounds of Revisions

If you have to ask an agency countless times to make changes to what they’re producing, it shows they don’t “get you,” and they’re not being empathetic or listening to the brand direction you had in mind. When making changes to campaigns, an unwillingness to take feedback into consideration shows a lack of care for their clients.

Even if they disagree, they should respectfully state why they do and use data to drive decision-making. This way, you know they’re invested in your brand and making fact-based decisions surrounding what they think is right for your company, instead of arbitrarily making decisions based on their own agenda.   

Pricing and Deliverables Aren’t Aligned

Not abiding by the full scope of work you agreed upon is a huge dealbreaker. In an agreement between an agency and a brand, the agreement of what work will be performed by each party is the most important aspect of the contract. The agency that you hire should be able to deliver all milestones, reports, deliverables, and end products that they promised to your brand—in the timeline that they said they would deliver it.

A lot of times, the problem with most scopes of work between an agency and a brand is a lack of specificity, which is where disputes arise. Both parties must agree on what should be delivered, make sure that the review of the scope of work is thorough and fair on both sides, and avoid any and all ambiguity along the way. 

If you’re hiring a strong agency with a marketing team of industry experts, you’ll never have to worry about receiving all your deliverables on time and having complete access to the campaign process along the way. If you’re working with a team that constantly makes excuses and guarantees results but doesn’t live up to the work they promised, run the other way. You want to outsource your marketing to an agency that doesn’t guarantee results but, through their expertise and hard work, produces them. Opinions expressed here are the opinions of the author. Influencive does not endorse or review brands mentioned; does not and can not investigate relationships with brands, products, and people mentioned and is up to the author to disclose. VIP Contributors and Contributors, amongst other accounts and articles, are professional fee-based.

Hawke Media

Hawke Media is a full-service marketing consultancy. We act as an Outsourced CMO for our clients, growing businesses of all sizes and industries.