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Destination Innovate Blog

Four Secrets Your Digital Agency Doesn’t Want You to Know

I’ve been in digital marketing for … forever. OK, OK, not forever, but for over 20 years, which I’d like to say is more than half my life, but it’s not.

When digital marketing first became a thing, it was new and fresh and damn near impossible to sell. If you were geeky enough *read, could talk nerdy*, clients would hire you without proof of concept, because they had no idea what the hell you were doing, anyway.

“Best Practices” became a thing: if it worked for them, it’ll work for you. That was pretty standard in the early 2000s. Rinse and repeat *was* the strategy. And, for clients, that was OK. It is NOT OK anymore. And, I’m pretty damn riled up at where it has gone and is going now.

I want to add a disclaimer here, that this is not the case for all digital agencies, and hopefully, not even most. I have tremendous respect for those who brave the arts of this industry and really do dedicate themselves to improving the business position of their clients. On the other hand, I have a disdain for agencies who are blatantly doing these things on the reg:

  1. They are a factory. Know what you get from over-processing your client in digital marketing? Two pickles on a bun, mass production pieces of sh**. It’s OK and even noble to have a large firm, but *how* a firm handles volume…speaks volumes.
  2. They use data as an excuse. Let’s be honest here, even the most sophisticated, real-time data is a history report at best. Your agency might not want you to know that a millisecond view is a not a reliable measure. They may not understand how to read the data strategically and even worse, do not understand the strategy of what to do with it. Innovation for clients has suffered because a lot of digital agencies do not understand narrative psychology well enough to calculate risk. You don’t have to have a crystal ball to predict behavior. But, you do need experience, real-deep-in-the-mud-beat-up-fail-and-succeed experience that answers your clients “Whys”, not just the “Hows”.
  3. They set it and forget it. OMFG, if I see one more re-targeting ad that is the same crap you’ve shown me 8 times, regardless of my action(s), I’m going to lose it. With all these amazing advancements of action, attribution, inbound and targeting…why the ever-loving hell won’t digital agencies tell a story with these tools? See point #2, data as an excuse. “Mr. Client, if you look at the frequency to click ratio, you can see that if we shove this same thing down their throats 178 times, we get a click.” Barf. How about a relationship? How about an unfolding story? Oh wait, that takes strategy and time and cuts into our margins..😒
  4. They push instead of pull. See expansion point above. OK, they *do* inbound marketing, which is a pull strategy, but with what relationship assistance? This is mostly where I see social media agencies failing. “Here’s a content plan for the next 800 years, because why would we be ‘in the moment’ on the most engaging hunting grounds ever?” Spoiler alert: because it cuts into the margins.

You get my rhythm.

Digital Marketing exploded, no one knew how to scale and it works so well, that even crappy digital marketing works and clients buy it.

I pray that this changes, digital marketing is my most beloved thing in the world (after my super-rad four daughters and husband).

I want digital agencies to do better.

I’m rooting for them.

I’m cheering them on and simultaneously rolling my eyes when they do these things, because they know better.😘

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