In the day-to-day of running a marketing agency, you run into a lot of marketers.  You also run into a lot of freelance creatives.

It is a part of the business.  One of the parts that I most enjoy,and most hate.

Marketers, especially these days, can be a huge pain to deal with.  At best.  At worst, they can cost you a boatload of money wasted in empty promises.

Of all the business owners that we have talked too, we have yet to meet one that has not been burned, at least one time, by a shoddy marketer.  Often times, that’s when we are called into clean up the mess.  That leads to the nightmare of following up with people who are often unreliable and slow to respond.

Unfortunately, that is a major risk with marketers.  There is extremely low barrier to entry.  As of now, there is no certification process in place for marketers.  Anyone can roll out of bed one day and decide, “I am a marketer!”

This means that the level of marketers you might be working with can vary greatly.  To protect yourself, watch out for these two kinds of marketers:

  1. The Over-Promiser

One of my clients told me he had a young marketer who sat down with him and whose first words in the meeting were, “Your problems are over!”

At that point, run.  Because if someone sits down and tells you this, your problems are just beginning.

How can they possibly say that?  They haven’t taken the time to understand you or your business.  Not to mention, that is a sign of arrogance and inexperience.  No one will truly understand your situation and the best way to help you until they speak with you in person and get a full picture of you and your business.

A marketer’s job is not to come in and slap their own cookie cutter marketing techniques onto you.  They need to understand 6 things:

  1. Your Target Audience
  2. How do they specifically interact with you and your business?
  3. What your current marketing efforts are?
  4. What results you are getting from these efforts?
  5. What are your needs going forward in order of importance?
  6. What is your budget?

Then, and only then, do you know if you can even help them.  Without knowing these things a marketer is shooting in the dark.  For instance, small businesses are always on a budget.  It is generally tight.  A marketer may be designing an all encompassing plan and perfecting a power-point to completely sell you when your budget is set to handle content creation services.

A marketer who already comes in and proclaims, “your problems are over” is completely ignorant of the situation and arrogant enough to believe he or she understands your business better than you.

Beware of the over-promising marketer.

The second type of marketer to watch out for is:

  1. Mr. Unreliable 

To understand this you must understand the nature of marketing.  In this day and age, it can be done remotely.  In this day and age, there is no certification for knowing a good marketer vs a bad marketer.  (Everybody has testimonials.)  Lastly, in this day and age, marketers can often get away with a lack of results because of a lack of tracking and a lack of reporting requirements from clients.

None of these things are necessarily a problem for someone who is reliable.  The problem is that all of these things can be exploited by someone who is completely unreliable.

Many people are attracted to the idea of working remotely.  They picture themselves on a beach in Hawaii sipping a Mai Tai.  This does not seem like your business growth is high on their list of priorities.  The results will speak for themselves.

Many marketers will hound you until they receive that first check.  Then you will never hear from them again.  What are you going to do?  You likely did not pay them enough so that legal action would be worth it.  You are in a terrible spot.

I am dealing with a situation right now where a client was using a former marketer who delivered on two-thirds of the scope of work and now will be completely unreachable for weeks on end.  When he is reached, he is “busy” and says he will call back in 15 min.  Then he goes back to being unresponsive to emails and/or calls.

He has been paid in full and is now a no-show.  The rest of the work that was promised will likely not get done.

This situation is a nightmare for clients and you do not want to be put in that situation yourself.

Business owners can waste thousands of dollars on a shady marketer who appears great from the beginning.

Eventually, this industry will be more regulated.  Until then, it is still the wild west and you need to protect yourself.

Do not get me twisted.  Marketing is a crucial part of your business.  Digital marketing is a field especially full of opportunity for business growth right now.  You should definitely be marketing digitally.  Five years from now, you will thank yourself today for investing in your online presence.  But do make sure that you work with someone who is both reliable and experienced enough to not over-promise.

Here’s to your growth!