Hired a digital agency? This is why you are not achieving results

Welcome to another episode of Question and Answer! In these brief videos, I answer common questions that entrepreneurs make me and today I want to answer a question of Abul Hussain, host of SMMA Mastermind Podcast, who interviewed me about the differences between a digital marketing agency and a digital marketing consultant. And I link here the video of the complete interview. Today, I want to give you the top three reasons why you should hire a digital marketing consultant first, and, maybe later on, hire a digital marketing agency. It’s been 10-12 years that digital marketing is around us and companies can actually develop a website and do advertising on Facebook, online, but businesses and companies still struggle to understand how to approach the digitalization. How to approach the digital marketing world. And what they usually do is to hire a digital marketing agency to help them develop, improve their business online. And this is wrong. This is catastrophically wrong, because hiring a digital marketing agency first, just like that, without skilled professionals within the organization, within the company  Can make a lot of damage. Usually, to explain this concept, I start from a comparison. I compare digital marketing agencies with banks, because people usually understand better how the financial world works, so I start from there to explain how the digital marketing world works. Let’s say you want to invest your money in the stock market and you are not so savvy to do it alone. So, you have two choices. You can ask advice from a bank, and usually it is free, or you can hire an independent financial advisor that you have to pay, in order to receive a consultancy. if you pick the first choice, and you go to a bank, the bank gives you the advice for free, so it suggests you where to invest your money for free, but you must know that there is a huge conflict of interest. Because the employee that is in front of you is paid by the bank. So, how banks earn money from this service that is given you for free? This is because these employees, these bank advisors will suggest you buying, purchasing titles or stocks in which the bank itself has interests. It means they are giving you a consultancy which is not in your own best interest. On the other side, if you go to an independent financial advisor, of course you have this pain, because you have to pay their fee, but they act in your own best interest. There is no conflict of interest. And they tell you what stocks, what shares purchase according to your personal needs. The same thing happens when you hire a digital marketing agency. A digital marketing agency is like a bank. There is a huge conflict of interest when you approach a digital marketing agency, because they will offer you what they sell and they won’t offer you what you really need. So, that’s why I always recommend hiring a digital marketing consultant first. Because there is no conflict of interest and the consultant can eventually advise you on which solution is best for you and, once you know what you need, what your business really needs, then you eventually hire a digital marketing agency. So, the first reason is conflict of interest. A digital marketing agency is like a hammer. A hammer that you have to direct. So, it’s just labor. You must have the knowledge to direct this hammer. And this is very important, because, usually, in my experience, when you hire a digital marketing agency and your strategy is not guided by an internal experienced digital marketing manager, you don’t achieve results. For example, if a digital marketing agency has a team of developers who only works with WordPress, but maybe the platform for you is not WordPress, it should be Wix or should be Shopify or Magento, they just offer to you a website with WordPress. In the future, you won’t achieve results, because you purchased something that doesn’t fit your organization or business model. The second reason why you shouldn’t hire a digital marketing agency first is for your ecosystem management. An agency has to handle a lot of clients, and can’t keep track of every business problems, every business issues, business models, the ecosystem of each business and, by ecosystem, I mean the structure of your business, for example, if you use a certain tool for project management, this tool has to be integrated with invoicing, accounting, you are advertising on Facebook or on social media should be coordinated with advertising on Google, on Amazon and so on. All of this makes your digital marketing ecosystem. And an agency can’t take care of it. So, you need a digital marketing consultant or a very experienced digital marketing manager within your company that keeps track of your KPIs and coordinate everything in your ecosystem, in order to achieve results. And I’m working as a digital marketing consultant and also I work as an employee in a digital marketing agency, so I can see both realities. And I’m telling you that when I work for digital marketing agency, we receive tasks to do, but we actually don’t know the background. So, let’s say that we receive the task to advertise certain listings on Amazon. We drive traffic from social media to Amazon listings, but maybe, this business, the company that hired us has an e-commerce store. So, this strategy doesn’t make sense at all, because if you have an e-commerce store, you want to drive traffic to the product pages on your website. You don’t want to drive traffic from social media to Amazon. In this case, a digital marketing consultant can bridge the communication, the knowledge gap between the business and the agency and say: “Hey guys! Don’t drive traffic to Amazon listings from social media, because we own an e-commerce store. So, please, just focus on Amazon Advertising and we’ll manage social media advertising to drive traffic to our own e-commerce store. So, second reason: ecosystem management. The third reason why you should think twice before you hire a digital marketing agency is the high fees. A digital marketing agency doesn’t have a scalable business model, because the more clients they have, the more employees they need to hire. And skilled employees cost a lot of money. So, that’s why they charge you high fees. If you make a long-term digital marketing strategy for your business, you should evaluate to hire those people, those skilled employees internally and you will have many advantages in doing so. If you don’t want to approach this problem by internalizing resources, you need a digital marketing consultant first, because maybe you even don’t need to hire a digital marketing agency. Maybe, the consultant can coordinate cheap labor for you. For example, you can hire many cheap and skilled freelancers from Fiverr or from developing countries, form Pakistan, India and so on. But if you want to hire that cheap labor, and cheap doesn’t mean they don’t know what they are doing, but they need to be coordinated. You need to know who you are hiring or who you need to hire. A digital marketing consultant can help you exactly do so. Another way to approach this problem is to automate as much as you can. So, you don’t need human labor to do stuff. So, what tools do you need? And how can these tools integrate with your ecosystem that we mentioned before? You need a digital marketing consultant. If you hire a digital marketing agency, they don’t know what tools work best for you. They will offer you what they sell and not what you need. Now that you know the top three reasons why you should hire a digital marketing consultant first, I want to tell you how to select a digital marketing agency or a consultant. Because you know you can’t trust what you read online. For example, if you search on Google “best digital marketing agency in New York City”, you will land on these huge business aggregators like UpCity or Clutch. And you need to know that agencies pay to be there. They pay to be in the top 5, in the top 10 results. So, when an aggregator tells you “this is the best agency in New York”, it is a lie, because that position is purchased. Or when you land on a digital marketing agency website and they show you the badges, like “Top 1% Digital Marketing Agency in North America by UpCity” or “by Clutch” or whatever… Those badges are purchased, ok? They cost like $2,000, $5,000, $10,000 according to the badge, according to the position they want to have on this aggregator. So, don’t trust any of this. The best way to find a consultant or an agency is: word of mouth, so people that actually worked with the agency and remember to test always these agencies or consultants. Start with small tasks, start with small projects. So, you can test their performance, you can see if they are delivering ROI (Return On Investment). And this is the only way to select an agency or a consultant. There isn’t any other way. So, avoid jumping into a huge project, like $1M, $2M, $100K project with an agency or avoid giving away all your assets to a consultant or to an agency right away. Just hire them for a small task that you can control, for which you know the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), that you can monitor and then you can evaluate. Well, I hope to have helped many entrepreneurs that want to digitalize or hire a digital marketing agency or a consultant. And I invite you to subscribe to this channel, because I publish every week ultimate guides on how to do stuff online and I give weekly advice to entrepreneurs on how to manage their digital business. Stay tuned!

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