Three Major Problems With Digital Marketing Companies

It was a Tuesday afternoon when Shawna and I walked out of the office of one of the most intimidating criminal defense lawyers in Denver. We knew the second we left his office we had just closed a major account that would change the face of GoEdison.

At the time, we were in our first year as a company and we were thrilled! We were so damn happy we could barely wait to get back to our car to call our CFO to tell him the news. Not only did we just close a major account, we knew we just beat out five other BIG local marketing agencies competing for this lawyer’s business.

This was three years ago; the memory is as strong as if it was yesterday. I remember thinking, “How in the hell did we, GoEdison, a boutique marketing firm, win this account versus some of the biggest marketing agencies in Denver?”

Little did I know at the time, but this client would teach GoEdison some of our most valuable business lessons.

Today, I want to start a new kind of conversation. I want to start a transparent dialogue about the disconnect with marketing and small-to-medium sized businesses.

Listed below are some of the biggest discrepancies in today’s marketing world.

Problem One: We’re Having the Wrong Digital Marketing Conversations with Clients

What type of conversations are you currently having about your digital marketing? Probably a bunch of blah...blah...blah...

Let me guess, you heard about how you need better SEO, how you need to go “all in” on social media, you need to write more blogs, etc.

Most conversations between marketing professionals and business owners tend to be off-base. A ton of marketing professionals throw out a ton of typical marketing speak, which is why we wrote a blog a while back called “The Digital Marketing Industry is Bullshit”.

As marketers, we need to stop with the “funnel” and “growth hacker” talk and start talking about things that actually matter to our clients. We need to stop the marketing “blah” conversations and start having conversations that matter.

I use the term “move the needle” a ton; I probably use it more than it should be used, so allow me to shamelessly use it again.

Are marketers having conversations around strategies and activities that truly “move the needle” for our clients? As agency owners we had to ask ourselves an important question very early on: Was GoEdison going to be accountable for tangible results for our clients that truly impacted their business? It’s a scary question because that puts a ton of responsibility on our shoulders as a small digital marketing agency.

In the end, we knew we had no choice; we have to be accountable for results that actually “move the needle” for our clients. With accountable results comes greater responsibly. Now, before we start work with a client, we have conversations that are about more than just marketing. Why? Because marketing is just one piece to your business puzzle that helps put everything together. Therefore, we have to understand your business on a different level.

Before we get into any type of nitty-gritty grand marketing strategies, we have to reframe our conversations and mindset first. We had to make sure every conversation with had with a client or prospect was meaningful and worth their time.

So, what exactly does that mean?

We had to start understanding what our clients were truly looking for. Also, we had to be brutally honest and ask ourselves if GoEdison was in a prime position to help specific clients achieve what they wanted.

Problem Two: Digital Marketing Companies Don’t Talk About What Matters Most to Their Clients

Now that we’ve reframed the conversations, what matters the most to clients? In the end, the question is rather easy to answer: More revenue! Clients want to see higher profits and return on investment (ROI) when it comes to their marketing, or just about anything.

These points are all 100% valid, and I’d be lying if GoEdison doesn’t want the same, it needs to be clear that hard work and patience go into helping achieve higher revenue and better lead-generation on a continual basis. There is NO get rich quick marketing strategy.

Marketing, when approached the correct way, is definitely a marathon rather than a sprint. This analogy gets used a lot in our world, and most times it’s an excuse for companies to not be accountable.

At the end of the day, we believe your marketing should be achieving two main things for your business. Your digital marketing efforts should be producing great lead-generation, while your brand, no matter how big or boutique, should be re-enforcing trust with current and future customers.

When you mix strong brand-equity into a lead-generation strategy, you’re giving your company the best change to win.

If your digital marketing isn’t accomplishing at least one or two of these things, it’s time to evaluate your current digital marketing strategy.

Problem Three: The Major Lack of Accountability, Transparency and Tangible Results in the Digital Marketing Industry

It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, no one bats a thousand. Companies make mistakes; it’s how we learn. Of course, hopefully we don’t learn from mistakes too much. We tell clients all the time that the digital marketing industry has to be one of the more unaccountable industries out there. This is why we went through an extensive process to be accredited by the Better Business Bureau. We wanted to add as much trust and credibility to our name as possible.

Almost 90% of our clients have had a very negative experience with their previous digital marketing company. This is a major problem in the small business world that needs to change.

Major Problems in the Industry We Hear About the Most:

  • Major lack of accountability

  • Horrible responsiveness and communication

  • Lack of transparency (no idea the value their marketing company brings to the table)

  • Overpriced (most digital marketing companies are very expensive)

Before we sign on a new client, we always end the initial meeting with this: “When it’s all said and done, we want to work with people we like.” We want to work with people we respect and like, which is a two-way-street. Of course, we have to reciprocate this motto as well.

How do we accomplish this ideal with new clients? We must achieve quality results, develop trust, and become fully transparent about our work process. Overall, it’s a collaborative effort if we want to create a true win-win scenario.

Is Hiring a Digital Marketing Company Worth It?

With the above problems we just addressed, you might be wondering this: “Is hiring a digital marketing worth actually worth it?” The short answer is, yes, but that truly depends on what who you decide to hire. You can even follow these six steps before hiring a marketing company.

We’re big believers in doing your research at length before you work with a digital marketing company. Check online reviews, ask for client references, understand the contract agreement, and - most importantly - try to see how responsive and transparent they are during the sales process. This will serve as an indicator about what they will be like once you work with them.


If you’re looking for a digital marketing company that takes pride in providing constant value, is not afraid to talk sales and revenue, and is accountable to their clients, then give us a call today.