The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly in Marketing


As a business owner, your primary focus is providing excellent products or services. However, in the digital age, maintaining an effective online presence is crucial. Unfortunately, many businesses fall into the trap of spending exorbitant amounts on marketing agencies that promise the world but deliver little. Let’s explore some common mistakes and offer tips to ensure you get the most out of your marketing efforts without wasting your hard-earned money.

The Good

Understanding Your Needs: Before hiring a marketing agency, take a close look at your business. Identify what’s working and what’s not. Often, with a bit of tweaking, you can achieve better results without incurring additional expenses.

Focusing on Quality Over Quantity: A high volume of website visitors is useless if they aren’t converting into customers. Ensure that your marketing efforts are targeted towards attracting quality leads who are more likely to make a purchase.

Implementing Effective Tracking: Use tools to track where your website traffic is coming from, how visitors are interacting with your site, and which marketing channels are driving the most conversions. This data is invaluable in refining your marketing strategies.

Educating Yourself: Invest time in understanding the basics of digital marketing. This knowledge will help you ask the right questions and make informed decisions when dealing with marketing agencies.

Being Wary of Fast Talkers: Many marketing “experts” are dynamic speakers who can easily persuade you to part with your money. Always take their promises with a grain of salt and do thorough research before committing to any service.

The Bad

Falling for High-Priced Marketing Agencies: Marketing companies will promise you the moon and stars to get your money. They take a template for marketing, slap your info on it, and charge you $3,000, $5,000, or even $8,000 for the service. And here’s the kicker—a recent study by The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) revealed that US ad agencies unethically pad their profits with secret rebate schemes, hidden fees, and management costs. In some cases, up to 80% of your budget could be used for kickbacks and hidden costs. It’s downright criminal!

Not Vetting Agencies Properly: Many businesses rely on references provided by the agency, which are often biased. It’s essential to dig deeper and look at the agency’s overall reputation, past performance, and client feedback from independent sources.

The Ugly

Unfair Practices in Advertising: Many business owners unknowingly give companies the okay to manage their Google Ads, only to be charged hefty maintenance and management fees, plus 20%, 40%, or even 80% of their ad spend money in additional fees, leaving most offices clueless about whether they’re being scammed.

The Business Industry’s Financial Burden: Let’s face it—advertising isn’t cheap! Supplies aren’t cheap, and your business education wasn’t cheap. This industry is getting more and more crowded by the day. Customers often think it’s the business’s responsibility to know the ins and outs of the services they offer. In reality, the second a product or service doesn’t meet their expectations, they are slamming you online because they didn’t get what they wanted. This industry needs a major overhaul, starting with marketing agencies and ending with the service providers. Trust me, you don’t see any big marketing companies going out of business, and the CEOs are raking in record profits and salaries at the expense of small business owners.

Avoiding the Marketing Scams

Many marketing agencies are run by 20-something self-proclaimed gurus. Trust me, they are salespeople, primed and ready to separate you from your hard-earned cash. So, what do you do? Stop marketing altogether? Have your staff do it? There’s no easy answer here, but there are some good practices for due diligence:

  1. Ask the Right Questions: Before hiring an agency, ask them about their experience with FTC laws, industry-specific marketing regulations, and compliance issues. Here are five questions to get you started:
  • Are you familiar with the FTC guidelines on marketing for my industry? If they say yes, follow up with: Can you explain how these guidelines impact the marketing strategies you use? A knowledgeable agency should be able to discuss specific regulations, such as restrictions on misleading claims and the importance of transparency in advertising. This ensures they understand the legal landscape and can keep your business compliant.
  • Can you provide examples of how you’ve ensured compliance with these guidelines in past campaigns?
  • What measures do you take to avoid hidden fees and kickbacks in ad spend?
  • How do you track and report the ROI of your marketing efforts?
  • Can you provide independent references or case studies from clients in my industry?
  1. Look for Red Flags: If an agency is evasive or dismissive when you ask about compliance and legal issues, run the other way. The last thing you need is the FTC knocking at your office door.
  1. Understand What You’re Paying For: Make sure you understand exactly what services are included in your contract and what additional fees might apply. Beware of agencies that inflate prices to show value and disguise kickbacks as commissions and fees.
  1. Don’t Fall for Fast-Talking Charlatans: Be skeptical of anyone who promises guaranteed results or pressures you into signing a contract quickly. Good marketing takes time and effort, and there are no shortcuts.
  1. Do Your Own Research: Look up reviews, ask for references, and take the time to understand the agency’s track record. Don’t rely solely on the information they provide.

In the end marketing is essential for growing your business, but it shouldn’t drain your resources. By understanding common pitfalls and applying these tips, you can make smarter marketing decisions that yield real results. Remember, the best investment you can make is in yourself and your business. At the end of the day, it’s your responsibility to read the contracts and understand the legal jargon. Agencies often use unfair practices like impossible-to-cancel contracts, hidden fees, and sales talk that imply more than you’re actually getting. Imagine if a business did that—promising a perfect experience but only delivering a fraction of it! Don’t let fast-talking marketers lead you astray.

If you want to discuss your branding, marketing, or advertising needs, feel free to reach out at Gizoom today. We can help you create a customized plan that not only differentiates your business but also shows you two ways the so-called gurus will help you for no charge. By the way, they charge over $3,000 for what I will tell you for free.