5 tell-tale signs that your agency is lying to you

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Companies and brands partner with agencies for a reason. In theory, most would surely enjoy eliminating the back and forth of internal and agency communication to avoid worrying about things like scope or billable hours. However, brands don't always have the resources or knowledge necessary to execute large marketing strategies on their own, so they rely on the expertise of an agency.
 
Unfortunately, some agencies can be more than just an inconvenience -- they can be downright dishonest. Dishonesty isn't just defined as blatant falsehoods; gray areas and lies of omission are degrees of dishonesty too.
 
We've heard firsthand accounts of some agencies that are so consumed with getting the work done that they never stop to consider if the work they're providing is the best solution for their clients. These agencies get so wrapped up in execution and "closing the deal" that they fail to focus on the target audience for their clients.
 
I've done some research and conducted a few interviews to arrive at the five tell-tale signs that your agency is lying to you. Here are the most common agency lies: 

All media campaigns are "performing well," and your agency provides no opportunity for improvement

Some agencies can be lazy. It's unfortunate but true. Do you often hear that "from a media perspective" the campaign is performing well and is successful? Yet the metrics your agency shares are based on ad spend, impressions, and click-through rates. It's great that the agency is achieving click-through rates higher than the industry average for your vertical, but it's more important to understand the effectiveness of that traffic once it's on the website. So ask your agency how media traffic influences conversion rates, or how conversion rates compare against other traffic sources. Is your agency able to tell you how the media influenced other types of traffic to your website? Ask your agency to dig deeper into the data to provide not only surface level information, but also a comprehensive interpretation of the data as it relates to your goals and broader budget.
 
If your agency reps aren't providing sufficient reporting to fully understand the impact of media efforts, they may not be lying to you, but they also aren't painting a complete picture of performance. Withholding that information so you don't get a clear picture of your marketing campaigns is just as harmful as being lied to. If it continues to be a battle, it may be time to look for a new agency.
 

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