Unfortunately, many of us have experienced this issue in marketing. A company hires an agency or a consultant who promises the world, but fails to deliver. There are many scammer marketing agencies around who simply don’t have the knowledge of their area, but are very good at selling their own services.

This can cost businesses a lot, and can have a huge negative impact. In such an unregulated industry, it is easy for unqualified people to come across as experts, leading to businesses spending high amounts of money on them, but how can you avoid the scammers, and instead only hire the marketers who will truly deliver results?

To find out, we asked our experts in the Go-Mash Expert Community:

Kim from Klyp gave us some great advice with particular focus on SEO marketing:
‘For SEO specifically I’d start by ignoring all agencies and contractors who promise page 1 rankings within 1 week. The reasons why this is flawed is because they generally don’t specify the keywords you’ll be ranking number 1 for and which pages. A blog can rank very quickly, think about how news articles get indexed with a few minutes. Where as a service page will take much longer. Generally anywhere between 2-6 weeks depending on the authority and size of the site.

This second one is something that has tripped up many of my clients over the past few years. Cold emails that specify vague details about your website and make claims about the quality of SEO that has been done. These are usually cookie cutter emails that have been b’ccd to hundreds of website owners. These emails never display the name of the person they are directed to and usually say something vague like “Hi store owner”. I’d recommend ignoring them all together and getting a proper SEO audit provided by an agency. ‘

Frances Chnaider from Tribular.co only hires experts who have direct experience of setting up a business, “been there, done that”:

“…they must have had their own startup or business, or currently work exclusively with startups so they get it. So, not armchair experts allowed. That’s how I ensure that they are not scammers, particularly the marketers. And boy – have we had a few apply! In addition to ensuring they own their own business and the right skill set, our vetting process includes hiring our experts to see what they’re about. We’re looking for results, empathy and customer service. One of our marketers didn’t adhere to our brand guidelines and then failed to provide a payment option on their invoice – how the heck did they expect to be paid? That’s an example of avoiding a scammer marketer, but also an example of the type of “expert”, who is NOT on TRIBULAR…”

Sacha Brant of brandscrubbers.com likes to use a combo of “hard data” and intuition for sorting the quality marketing experts from the scammers:

“You need hard data, actual case studies and client willing to act as a reference. Fact – if you get the willies when you’re talking to them, or if they feel “off” to you, keep looking. That little inner voice may not always be indicating something obviously wrong, and it could be as simple as different styles of work. Really, you’ve got to find folks who know what they are talking about and you LIKE as people, otherwise the relationship doesn’t work…”

Emma Dignon, director at Oh Hello, writes:

“When avoiding scammer marketing agencies, the main thing to keep your eye out for are agencies who over-promise what can actually be achieved through social media marketing. If an agency guarantees results instead of demonstrating how social media marketing is a long-term growth strategy for the brand – there might be something fishy there. A good agency should show you their portfolio of work, educate you on the results they’ve achieved in the past, and communicate that they might be able to achieve similar results with your brand if you follow their strategy”.

David Pagotto from SIXGUN says that often clients have been through bad experiences before finally lucking out and arriving at his agency. He has the following advice:

“To avoid scammer marketing agencies you must be prepared to put in a bit of research. Firstly, I recommend reviewing and contacting a number of their current clients. This is a great way to gauge the agencies performance and determine the best way to work together moving forward. Secondly, you should ensure they are very clear on the scope of their work, precise deliverables, and time lines. Thirdly, you need to be clear on how their results are going to be measured from your side and what course of action will be available to you if the results are not achieved.”

Cris Haest from Bright Social Agency recommends a thorough pre-screening process:

“To avoid hiring scammer marketing agencies, you’ll need to do a thorough interview process. I suggest starting with a Request for Proposal to at least 3 different marketing agencies to get a clear understanding of the client’s needs, project scope, and agency capabilities. Start with what the goals of the project are (lead generation, new clients, press mentions) and what means you’d like those goals achieved in (guerilla marketing activities, digital ads, seo, social media campaigns, influencer marketing, website optimization, etc.), how long you want the project to last (we suggest nothing shorter than a month but a review at each 12 month checkmark), and a deep discussion over how analytics will be showcased. Discuss what your team of employees will need to provide, oversee, review, or moderate prior to contract signature, how many hours you’ll need to designate for this project on the client side, and what initiatives and holidays may be inc luded in coverage or promotional pieces shared. If the company does not yet have a brand book, does this need to be included to help ensure that the agency stays on brand consistently across various marketing initiatives and has access or oversight into any tools, technology, or software that is client owned throughout the partnership to ensure client ease of override at the term of the contract.”

Category:   Marketing
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