How Do You Know if You’re Getting Fleeced? What Your Marketing Agency Should Be Delivering

How Do You Know if You’re Getting Fleeced? What Your Marketing Agency Should Be Delivering

How Do You Know if You’re Getting Fleeced? What Your Marketing Agency Should Be Delivering

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If you’ve worked in the digital marketing space before or dealt with agencies, you’ll know that the field has its share of shady operators. The industry has seen it all, whether it be poor communication, vague deliverables or unrealistic expectations and promises. 

Working with a good provider can certainly free up your time and help you grow your business, and there’s little doubt that – when done properly and ethically – digital marketing can be very powerful. But it can be tricky to figure out which are the right agencies, and even when you’re working with a provider when to recognise that your budget is being poorly managed. 

In this guide, we’ll walk through the essentials of what you should expect when you shake hands with a digital agency. From the spark of initial ideas to the ongoing flame of support and innovation, there are signs to look for to get a sense of how well you’re being looked after. 

How Do You Know If You’re Getting Fleeced? What Your Marketing Agency Should Be Delivering

A Word on Marketing 

First, let’s make sure we understand what is a realistic expectation for any marketing campaign regardless of your spend or budget. The reality is that some business owners treat online marketing as a magic bullet that can completely transform and grow the business, with all other factors remaining the same. Without any doubt, there are cases where we see this happen for businesses that have the right conditions in place. What these conditions are is a conversation your digital marketing agency should be able to discuss with you from the outset when onboarding you. Some candid conversation around this is a good sign you are dealing with someone legitimate who has your best interests at heart. This is to be contrasted with an agency that has more of a cookie-cutter approach with a set time period for success and the same strategy delivered regardless of the specifics of the business in question. 

Understand that marketing is one piece of a tapestry of different factors that play into how many sales or leads you are going to be generating. Unfortunately, if you are starting from a point where your business model or your offer isn’t appealing or engaging, the best marketing campaign is only going to take you so far. 

Lastly, the nature of marketing is such that it can be difficult to predict results even for the most accomplished and experienced operators in the field. If your provider promises something is to good to be true, chances are it is. 

Expertise and Experience

Like in any field, experience goes a long way. Imagine having a team whose day-to-day is steeped in the nuances of SEO, social media trends, content creation, and web development. Having seasoned professionals who navigate these digital waters and educate you in the process.

As alluded to, a solid digital strategy isn’t born from guesswork; it is put together from a deep understanding of the online landscape and the market in which you are operating. An agency worth its salt has a track record that speaks volumes and that is one of the first things you should be looking for. This experience translates into a foresight that can steer your business clear of pitfalls and toward genuine growth. 

Customised Strategies

To reiterate an earlier point, a one-size-fits-all approach is about as effective as using a map of Mars to navigate Earth. It simply doesn’t work. Every business has its unique blueprint, goals, audience and is its own stage of development. Recognising this is the first step toward genuine engagement and sustainable growth.

Personalised strategies are absolutely essential in this space. The current status of your business can determine a great deal about what strategy is going to work and where your budget would serve that goals you have. Digital marketing is a dynamic space that requires a tailored, thought-out approach rather than having your agency copy and paste a strategy and approach that may have worked previously with a completely different business. 

This tailored approach ensures that every marketing dollar you spend is working as hard as possible to achieve your specific business goals.

Communication and Transparency

Needless to say, if you’re using a digital agency to generate leads  you want to be kept in the loop! There is a tendency on the part of some agencies to happily report the good news, but avoid mentioning the areas that need improvement or perhaps haven’t worked as well. As a business owner, it’s important to be across information that falls into both these categories, for obvious reasons. 

Clear, consistent communication forms the backbone of any successful partnership between a digital agency and its clients. When an agency is open about strategies, timelines, and budgeting, it eliminates guesswork. You deserve to know where your investment is going, how it’s being used, and what results are being targeted. This clarity fosters a sense of security and partnership rather than leaving you feeling like an outsider looking in.

Just as you should expect detailed reports and insights from your agency, an agency should anticipate and welcome your questions and input. This ongoing dialogue ensures that strategies remain aligned with your business objectives and can be adjusted as needed. In some industries, data can only take your agency so far; some communication and feedback from you is imperative in order for them to understand how effectively the campaigns are working. 

Data-Driven Results

While it doesn’t tell the whole story (see above), we are seeing data play a crucial role in digital marketing as the space develops and more analytical information becomes accessible. 

One of the main benefits that digital marketing has over more conventional forms of marketing like media advertising is that you have more visibility over what you’re getting from your website or online presence. 

A proficient digital agency should be delivering the data to you in a way that you are able to understand and using it to inform the ongoing campaigns.  They understand that behind every click, every view, and every engagement lies a story waiting to be told. By harnessing the power of analytics and metrics, they can uncover these narratives, revealing what resonates with your audience and why.

Ongoing Support and Education

When you are paying a professional in any field, there is value in the learnings that you pick up along the way. Especially for a business owner, it’s valuable to learn as much as you can about digital marketing and put yourself in a better position to be successful in the long run. 

Of course, this depends on your own goals and interests. Some business owners will want to work with an agency precisely because that allows them to not have to worry about the ins and outs of every campaign. But if this is something that’s important to you, your agency should be able to oblige. 

The digital landscape is constantly evolving, with new trends, tools, and tactics emerging all the time. A dedicated agency empowers you by sharing this knowledge, helping you understand the latest developments and how they impact your business. 


Navigating the digital marketing landscape can be daunting, but armed with the right knowledge and a trustworthy agency, it can become a powerful engine for your business’s growth. Remember, a reputable digital agency should act as your partner, not just a service provider. They should offer clarity, not confusion, guiding you through the complexities of online marketing with transparency and expertise.

As you move forward, consider the signs of a good agency relationship we’ve discussed: personalised strategies, clear communication, data-driven results, and ongoing support and education. These are not just services; they are your rights as a client. They are the benchmarks that separate the wheat from the chaff in the digital marketing world.

Konger Avatar
1 month ago

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Up until working with Casey, we had only had poor to mediocre experiences outsourcing work to agencies. Casey & the team at CJ&CO are the exception to the rule.

Communication was beyond great, his understanding of our vision was phenomenal, and instead of needing babysitting like the other agencies we worked with, he was not only completely dependable but also gave us sound suggestions on how to get better results, at the risk of us not needing him for the initial job we requested (absolute gem).

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*The information this blog provides is for general informational purposes only and is not intended as financial or professional advice. The information may not reflect current developments and may be changed or updated without notice. Any opinions expressed on this blog are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author’s employer or any other organization. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this blog without first seeking the advice of a professional. No representation or warranty, express or implied, is made as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this blog. The author and affiliated parties assume no liability for any errors or omissions.