If you want your marketing company to succeed, then you should be learning from the mistakes of others.
In this article, I’ll go over some of the most common mistakes that I see marketing companies make.
Your assignment? Don’t repeat these mistakes.
Marketing Company Mistake #1: They Don’t Do Realistic Project Projections
I get it. As a business owner, it’s easy to let the excitement of a new company take over the practicalities.
But in order for any company to succeed, you have to do your due diligence before even thinking about opening your doors for business – virtual or physical.
I see this all too often with marketing companies. They simply don’t take the time to do real projections to ensure the project will be successful from the get-go.
In short, they’re not looking at the real business model.
Because when it comes to business, numbers – not just enthusiasm – are what matters.
So before launch, it’s absolutely critical that you run projections on the traffic, the costs, the conversion rates, the revenue generated, and realistic expenses and profit margins.
And I don’t just mean that for the marketing company itself; I mean it for every project they consider taking on.
When reviewing a new inquiry, a marketing company needs to be looking at all available information regarding that industry: customer purchasing habits, competitors, target audience, and overall market trends, as well as overall scope, cost, and time associated with the project.
The thing is, a lot of marketing companies – especially newer ones – will jump at any chance to sign on a client.
But running a successful business means making tough calls. If you can’t ensure success from the get-go, your expertise and resources may be better used elsewhere.
Marketing Company Mistake #2: They Don’t Review the Google Analytics Channel Report and Compare it to Industry Standards
The Google Analytics Channel Report is overlooked way too often.
And that’s a shame, especially given how in-tune a marketing company should be with their client’s Google Analytics.
More specifically, a marketing company should be consistently checking each client’s Google Analytics Channel report and comparing it to industry standards.
Doing so will allow them to position that client in the marketing channel that will be most impactful for their business.
But let’s back up a step.
For those unfamiliar, a Channel Report helps you measure the performance of various traffic sources (channels) through behavior and conversion analysis.
It’s separated into sources and mediums.
A source is the origin of your website traffic. So in this case, Google/cpc, Google would be the traffic source.
A medium is the category of the traffic source. So with Google/cpc, cpc (or cost-per-click) would be the medium.
The Channels report shows you in broader terms where your traffic is coming from. For example, Facebook Sessions would be lumped into the Social category.
When looking at the report, located under the Acquisition section in Google Analytics, you’ll be able to see what percentage of website traffic is coming from which source.
When working with clients, a marketing company should run a Channels report initially to determine which channels see the highest conversions and traffic. Then, you can build a strategy around what you find.
Once the strategy is up and running, a Channels Report should be run frequently to make sure that conversion and traffic goals are being met and identify any under-performing channels.
For example, you might find that 25% of traffic is coming from email marketing, 50% from organic search, 20% from PPC, and only 5% from social.
If social media is something you had been investing in and pushing for that particular client, you may want to rethink your strategy.
On the other hand, you may notice that in that client’s particular industry, social media tends to bring in 15%-20% of traffic for competitors. That’s a warning sign for you.
It means there’s potential to do much better in the social space, you just haven’t reached it yet.
Because of the Channel report, you’ll know to study competitors channels to see where any gaps are.
Marketing Company Mistake #3: They Don’t Have Expert Oversight on Each Account
Marketing is a broad and constantly changing field.
So it makes perfect sense that you’d have employees on hand with specific skills in social media, SEO, PPC, content marketing, etc.
And while I absolutely understand and support that, it doesn’t take away the need for a tried and true expert who understands the full gamut of digital marketing.
These experts need to be familiar with and overseeing each and every project a marketing company takes on.
Not to sound completely cliche, but it’s kind of like assembling a football team with no coach. Yeah, you have great players ready to do a great job, but if you don’t have anyone to strategize successful plays and innovate when things aren’t going your way, your team won’t get far.
Each individual marketing project requires its own team.
Your social media strategist can’t troubleshoot an SEO problem that’s interfering with a company’s Facebook traffic.
But an expert in the intricacies of digital marketing and how each piece fits together can.
Make sure you have that person, and make sure your clients know them and have direct contact with them.
Marketing Company Mistake #4: They Don’t Do Quarterly Business Reviews
Reporting is a big deal when it comes to marketing. It’s how you communicate with your clients and prove the importance and impact of your services.
Most marketing companies will offer weekly reports to show any differences in activity (traffic, conversions, etc.) and keep tabs on account performance.
But the quarterly business review goes beyond your average report.
In the most basic sense, a quarterly review is a once-per-quarter meeting with your client.
Quarterly reviews are strategic in that they’re used to gain a deeper understanding of your client and strategize for the future.
These aren’t quick, status update phone calls.
A review is carefully crafted by the marketing company to include an executive summary of all activity on the account throughout the quarter, as well a detailed overview of individual services like social media, SEO, PPC, etc.
They take work. And if a company is serving 100+ clients, it’s easy to see how quarterly reviews would be relegated to only the top tier clients.
But that’s exactly where many marketing companies fall behind.
A big part of a quarterly review is in its customer service. By taking the time to prepare a thorough review and strategize for the future, you’re proving that each client is valuable to you.
And if you conduct the review well, you’re proving your worth to the client.
As mentioned above, each quarter your review should include an executive summary of the project as well as insight into the individual components.
So, if you were putting together the social media portion of a quarterly review, you would focus on things like:
- Overview of the quarter
- Work that you completed, is still in progress, or paused
- Notable achievements – and substantial follower or engagement growth, website sessions from social, etc.
- Evaluation of each individual channel (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.), including:
- Overall strategy
- Reach and engagement
- Best performing posts
- Any new strategy ideas
Each ensuing section would then include a similar set-up.
Marketing Company Mistake #5: They Don’t Innovate
Marketing isn’t a play-it-safe industry.
And if a marketing company is still implementing strategies from five or ten years ago, they’re falling way behind.
Unfortunately, I see this all too often.
Too many companies rely on what’s worked in the past, instead of adopting what’s working right now or testing ideas that have potential.
It involves a little risk, but comes with a whole lotta reward. In this industry, innovation will help you:
- Grow faster
- Stand out from the competition
- Meet changing customer needs
- Attract better talent
An innovative company doesn’t rely solely on pop-ups in a world where live chat and multi-step forms are attracting attention.
They’re prepared because they stay ahead of the curve.
That means listening to every team member and valuing their insight – not just the experts.
Though we talked about the importance of having a veteran on hand and overseeing all projects, it’s equally important to let greener employees test and try their ideas.
So for the sake of innovation, make sure you adopt the following principles:
- Keep learning. Every day. Read the latest articles and blogs in the marketing space and make it a point to stay on top trends.
- Try new ideas (even the crazy ones). If a new tool comes out, test it.
- Listen to your staff. All of them. Not only that, but actively ask for suggestions and ideas on how to innovate.
- Create an idea list. Set up a list in your internal database where employees can share any and all new ideas (even anonymously, if they choose).
Wrapping It Up Marketing Companies Mistakes
Now that you know about the top mistakes that marketing companies make, make sure you do the exact opposite. Let their loss be your gain.
Keep your eyes open, though. You still need to learn from some of your own mistakes and the mistakes of other businesses in your space. That’s how you’ll continue to grow.