How Do You Know If Your Marketing Firm Is Screwing You Over?


How do you choose a marketing firm?

Should I hire a digital agency or a creative firm?

What the hell is a "Growthhacker"?!

How do I know whether they're doing their job?


These are a few of the questions small and medium-sized organizations face when trying to take their brand to the next level. I've been in these conversations, seen some great partnerships formed, but I've also seen many horrendous decisions made and a lot of money wasted. Here are some straightforward thoughts and tactics on how to make this BIG decision, take it for what it's worth and let me know if I missed anything! 


Most small and medium-sized businesses are run by entrepreneurs that are extremely passionate and great at what they do! That said, many of them have never had anything to do with the core function of marketing before, making marketing decisions very difficult and scary… Eventually they realize the importance of marketing and have what they consider a “marketing budget”, and it’s time to choose a marketing agency or partner.

The business owner knows the business, products/services and customers better than anyone, so handing over the reigns to an outside firm is scary. Before doing so, they need to do a brand analysis and get everything in their head onto paper. What is your elevator pitch? Who are the current and future target customers? Why do they buy from you versus the competition? Is this an emotional decision or financial? Where do they live and shop (in-person or online)? And the list goes on (sign-up at & I’ll send a brand analysis document)…


"A very important addition to this brand analysis is to ask your current customers what they like, dislike and what they would like to see from your company!"


Once they REALLY understand the brand and their business, the owner needs to figure out exactly what (monthly) budget exists, and what sales revenues (and profits) this budget is supposed to help them reach. From there, it’s time to reach out to local marketing firms for help!  

Don’t let a creative shop say a new logo and website is what the brand needs… Don’t let a social media consultant say social media will make the brand take off... Push to talk to the strategy teams (probably the founder), ask how they plan to reach that target audience (you already identified) in the places they make purchases and how they will track results? Then how will they take this information to update the approach monthly to maximize your budget and reach the goals you have?  

Talk to at least one creative agency, a digital marketing firm and a PR firm to understand the different areas of specialization, which will help identify the gaps in each approach and which of the options is most targeted for the brand. I would recommend getting a second opinion from another firm you trust, or at least someone that has been through this before (feel free to email me at From there, you've got to make a data/results driven decision, then it’s time to start testing (yes, it’s all an ongoing test) and hopefully growing the business!

I realize this is pretty straightforward and to the point, but these are VERY important things to consider and not overlook -- this is the future of your business we're talking about! Let me know any questions or thoughts, I'm always here to help. 

Keep Rockin!