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

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Recommendations are based on a "best practice" approach

At the beginning of an engagement, we tend to ask clients what they've done in the past. We are often told the client executed a program because it was recommended by a prior agency that pitched a "best practice" idea.  But blanket "best practices" lack supporting research or analysis to establish effective recommendation -- without analysis, how can an agency determine what will be effective for its client's target audience? It's frustrating to see agencies provide digital recommendations that aren't backed up by data because, in the end, marketers will have spent lots of money to execute a program for their brand without ever having received a report on whether it even performed well.
If this story sounds familiar, inquire before the engagement starts about a measurement strategy that details the metrics to prove success and how data will be collected. No digital marketing initiative should execute without a plan that details the metrics used to measure success. During and after the marketing initiative, reporting should inform performance so that optimizations can be made along the way and success (or lack of success) can be disclosed to the brand.

Your agency promises to take something "viral"

Viral campaigns are luck of the draw, with no algorithm that can predict success. Melonie Gallegos, social media expert from Fandom Marketing, explained it best:

"Viral happens. It's not planned. Typically, it's next to impossible to predict what will or will not take off like wildfire on the web. Anyone [who] tells you they will make your brand go viral either has loose expectations around what that means or has a team of spammers lined up to generate the appearance of it happening."
There are elements that many "viral" campaigns tend to have in common: It's often user-generated content, subtle, and funny. When working with an agency on a campaign that you want to resonate with your target audience, be sure to stick to your brand's core values. Find relevant ways to connect with your customers and make it entertaining. If you cater to your audience -- and make it fun -- the potential for people to share will increase significantly.