Avoid Bad Marketing Agencies: Warning Signs To Watch Out For

Effective marketing and branding is critical for every company or brand, but is one of the most difficult investments for a business owner to make. In our experience, there are many reasons for this, but it basically comes down to this: it is really hard to find a good digital marketing agency. New District Maven clients often join our family with years worth of horror stories about the time and money wasted with “expert” companies that produced no tangible, money-making results.
Thanks to the continuing Coronavirus outbreak and rapidly changing global economic situations, many American professionals can expect to be working from home for the foreseeable future. “Our best estimate is that 25-30% of the workforce will be working from home multiple days a week by 2021,” according to Kate Lister, the President of Global Workforce Analytics.

Not that this is a secret, but these circumstances have made cloud-based collaboration and video conferencing tools more important than ever before, both personally and professionally. In a hurry to meet the demand for video conferencing solutions, many businesses quickly moved to implement solutions for their teams. Almost overnight, Zoom seemed to be the immediate, most popular choice for virtual meetings about work and play.

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This isn’t due to lack of availability, of course. Business owners often entrust their marketing efforts to the wrong team due to conceptual barriers. There are many creative firms out there, each boasting expertise in overly complex and technical concepts while using unfamiliar vocabulary. This makes it particularly easy for one to be tricked by disingenuous agencies that exaggerate their marketing and SEO capabilities or utilize shady, black hat techniques.

It is much easier to find the right marketing company for your business when you know how to spot a terrible one. Avoid disaster by spotting the following key warning signs that are all trademarks of a lackluster agency.
However, it is quickly becoming apparent that not all collaboration and conferencing tools are created equal, nor are they best for creative entrepreneurs or small business owners. (Also, Zoom is getting a lot of criticism for its security and privacy issues right now -- a fact that cannot be ignored.)

The District Maven team has also had to implement additional digital conferencing solutions since the COVID-19 outbreak. While Zoom’s popularity continues to be prevalent, our experience has shown that Google Meet (formerly Google “Hangouts”) is far more effective and efficient than its predecessor. Of course, the choice of which tool is best for your brand or business is up to you. However, below are some of our top reasons why Google Meet is better than Zoom for video conferencing and collaboration.

They Guarantee Top Rankings On Google’s Results Pages

Search Engine Journal author, Patrick Reinhart, put it best:

“Listen, Google’s algorithm is a giant, floating math equation out in space that is controlled by a machine learning AI that learns our search habits and modifies its results based on those learnings.

The lesson here is that no one can guarantee anything when it comes to Google’s algorithm, not even the algorithm itself. If any of us could, we would be filthy, dirty rich.” [via]


We couldn’t agree more with Patrick here. Any SEO company that has ever opened a computer can get a site to rank for something on page one -- what they aren’t telling you is what you are actually ranking for and whether it will drive viable traffic and potential customers to your website. Just because your site shows up on page one for a keyword doesn’t mean that it is actually providing anything valuable to your business. The targeted phrases most often used are either irrelevant to the client or no one is searching for them -- neither of which will provide a return on investment.

It is a little known fact, but Zoom conferences are made public automatically by default. If users don’t disable this option manually, anyone with the meeting link can join, hear the conversation, and share the screen. The problem with Zoom conferencing security has grown so problematic that the FBI has issued warnings about the tool’s hijacking vulnerabilities, and an increasing number of schools, government agencies, and businesses are starting to either stop using Zoom or banning it entirely.

By contrast, Google Meet’s conferences are automatically set to private by default. More often than not, users only have to make sure that their data and meetings are secure -- not the video conference in itself. Additionally, Google Meet boasts a few other beneficial security features, including: 

  1. The only persons who can mute or remove participants are meeting creators and calendar owners.
  2. On the same chord, meeting creators and calendar administrators are the only ones who can allow external participants access to the call upon user request.
  3. Once the final participant has left the meeting, attendees are unable to rejoin meetings that are nicknamed explicitly by the administrator or meeting creator.

Another awesome thing about Google Meet is that the platform reaps the benefits from the Google Cloud Platform’s (GCP) extensive defense-in-depth-approach to data security, which uses the power of both Google’s native protections and its global private network.

They Are Unable To Explain How SEO Works To You In A Way That Makes Sense

Security issues aren’t the only major problem many are having with Zoom right now. The company has been criticized for a serious lack of privacy too. Most recently, the platform was caught sharing unauthorized user data with third parties, namely Facebook. Even though Zoom has since stopped sharing data with the social media giant, it still is facing multiple class-action lawsuits from the ordeal. Furthermore, surveys show that more than a third of Zoom users are actively concerned about these problems and considering switching video conferencing tools for their brand or business.

On the other hand, Google has been very committed to protecting user data for several years. As a result, it extends its cloud platform (and inherent privacy features) to Google Meet as well. Just like all other data stored on the Google Cloud, this video collaboration tool will never use customer information for advertising purposes and only processes data based on the person’s specific directions.
If we’ve learned anything from talking to clients over the years, it is that most (if not all) are downright perplexed by search engine optimization. Sure, it is a fact that SEO is essential -- but what the hell does it mean, and how does it work?

A digital marketing agency worth your time and money should be able to break down the inner workings of the search engines for you in a way that makes sense. Clients should gain a better understanding of how Google reads and evaluates a website and what can be done on an ongoing basis to improve their positioning throughout search results pages.

If the company leading your optimization efforts can’t even explain its most basic definition to you, how could they ever implement the complex strategies and techniques that accompany it?

Are Vague About Processes & The Value In Them

If your marketing company cannot explain the basic functions of search engine optimization, their “strategic” processes are likely equally as vague. Be cautious of so-called digital experts who lack a defined structure to their marketing techniques. If there doesn’t seem to be a justifiable rhyme and reason to their creative processes, it’s a good chance that there isn’t one.

By contrast, the District Maven team believes that online marketing is inherently a process. Sure, the ingredients may vary from client to client, but the recipe is always the same. We take great pride in educating clients on the steps involved in deploying effective marketing strategies and the value found in our techniques.
While Zoom requires a lengthier sign-up and account installation process, the user experience for Google Meet is far more seamless. Conversely, the latter is included with every G Suite subscription. Since over 2 billion people utilize G Suite for their business or brand, this means a TON of people already have access to this video conferencing tool without any additional sign up required. What’s more, thanks to its inclusion in G Suite, Google Meet will also seamlessly sync with other Google-based apps, including Calendar, Docs, Sheets, and more.

Completely Neglects On-page Optimization

In order to use Zoom, the user must download a mobile or desktop app. This has also caused a myriad of customer security concerns, making it all too easy for hackers to create fake Zoom installers that download with coin miners, adware and malware viruses included.

This is another important way Google Meet edges out Zoom -- because the platform operates entirely via desktop browsers, it lessens the need for security patches while also creating a far lower chance of attack.
Effective digital marketing begins and ends with a company’s website. At the end of the day, SEO is a fancy term for formatting your website (and its content) in a way that search engines can read, understand and apply value to.

Without the implementation of proper title tags, META descriptions, alt tags, and header tags, Google will never be able to fully comprehend what you are sharing on your site, why you are an expert in your field, or why it is beneficial for others to see.

Marketing agencies that do not emphasize the importance of on-page optimization neglect the most fundamental pieces of the SEO puzzle.

Makes Zero Effort To Get To Know You And Your Business

Hiring a marketing agency can be a scary thing, and understandably so. It takes an enormous sense of trust to give an individual or group of people the “keys to your kingdom” when it comes to how your business is presented to the world. This is something that the District Maven team takes very seriously, making it our priority to truly get to know our clients and their businesses from the inside out.

Be cautious of marketing companies that apply a “one size fits all” approach, with little regard to your brand’s specific history, nuances or objectives. Clients should never feel like a number or just “another account” to their creative team. These details may seem small, but truly can be all the difference when it comes to your marketing efforts (and actually seeing a return on investment in them).

Withholds Full Access To Passwords, Collateral Or Other Creative Materials After Being Paid For A Completed Project

Especially in today’s COVID economy, every dollar counts more than ever -- especially for creative entrepreneurs and small businesses. With this in mind, Google Meet is typically the most cost-effective option, as well. Plans for this platform begin at $6 per month, whereas Zoom’s most basic paid subscription starts at $15 per month.
We wish we could say that this doesn’t happen all the time, but... it does -- and it is shady! Typically this occurs when a client decides to go in a different direction after working with a marketing professional or team, and they are less than thrilled about it.

Withholding (or changing) passwords, collateral, or other creative is downright wrong, full stop. Before signing anything, make sure to ask your prospective marketing agency how the transfer of information is handled when a contract is dissolved. Anything less than full disclosure and an easy ownership transition should be seen as a major red flag.

One of the first things that District Maven reminds potential clients is that everything we do for them is their intellectual property. After a project is completed and paid for, everything involved with it belongs to the client no matter what. We will never keep important information or materials from clients, regardless of how the relationship ends.



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about us

For over a decade, District Maven has worked with businesses across the country to establish a formidable and profitable brand online. This is a responsibility that we take very seriously. Regardless of the industry or client, trust, respect and integrity are at the heart of every relationship we maintain -- and we wouldn't have it any other way.

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Effective marketing and branding is critical for every company or brand, but is one of the most difficult investments for a business owner to make. In our experience, there are many reasons for this, but it basically comes down to this: it is really hard to find a good digital marketing agency. New District Maven clients often join our family with years worth of horror stories about the time and money wasted with “expert” companies that produced no tangible, money-making results.

Image
This isn’t due to lack of availability, of course. Business owners often entrust their marketing efforts to the wrong team due to conceptual barriers. There are many creative firms out there, each boasting expertise in overly complex and technical concepts while using unfamiliar vocabulary. This makes it particularly easy for one to be tricked by disingenuous agencies that exaggerate their marketing and SEO capabilities or utilize shady, black hat techniques.

It is much easier to find the right marketing company for your business when you know how to spot a terrible one. Avoid disaster by spotting the following key warning signs that are all trademarks of a lackluster agency.

They Guarantee Top Rankings On Google’s Results Pages

Search Engine Journal author, Patrick Reinhart, put it best:

“Listen, Google’s algorithm is a giant, floating math equation out in space that is controlled by a machine learning AI that learns our search habits and modifies its results based on those learnings.

The lesson here is that no one can guarantee anything when it comes to Google’s algorithm, not even the algorithm itself. If any of us could, we would be filthy, dirty rich.” [via]


We couldn’t agree more with Patrick here. Any SEO company that has ever opened a computer can get a site to rank for something on page one -- what they aren’t telling you is what you are actually ranking for and whether it will drive viable traffic and potential customers to your website. Just because your site shows up on page one for a keyword doesn’t mean that it is actually providing anything valuable to your business. The targeted phrases most often used are either irrelevant to the client or no one is searching for them -- neither of which will provide a return on investment.

They Are Unable To Explain How SEO Works To You In A Way That Makes Sense

If we’ve learned anything from talking to clients over the years, it is that most (if not all) are downright perplexed by search engine optimization. Sure, it is a fact that SEO is essential -- but what the hell does it mean, and how does it work?

A digital marketing agency worth your time and money should be able to break down the inner workings of the search engines for you in a way that makes sense. Clients should gain a better understanding of how Google reads and evaluates a website and what can be done on an ongoing basis to improve their positioning throughout search results pages.

If the company leading your optimization efforts can’t even explain its most basic definition to you, how could they ever implement the complex strategies and techniques that accompany it?

Are Vague About Processes & The Value In Them

If your marketing company cannot explain the basic functions of search engine optimization, their “strategic” processes are likely equally as vague. Be cautious of so-called digital experts who lack a defined structure to their marketing techniques. If there doesn’t seem to be a justifiable rhyme and reason to their creative processes, it’s a good chance that there isn’t one.

By contrast, the District Maven team believes that online marketing is inherently a process. Sure, the ingredients may vary from client to client, but the recipe is always the same. We take great pride in educating clients on the steps involved in deploying effective marketing strategies and the value found in our techniques.

Completely Neglects On-page Optimization

Effective digital marketing begins and ends with a company’s website. At the end of the day, SEO is a fancy term for formatting your website (and its content) in a way that search engines can read, understand and apply value to.

Without the implementation of proper title tags, META descriptions, alt tags, and header tags, Google will never be able to fully comprehend what you are sharing on your site, why you are an expert in your field, or why it is beneficial for others to see.

Marketing agencies that do not emphasize the importance of on-page optimization neglect the most fundamental pieces of the SEO puzzle.

Makes Zero Effort To Get To Know You And Your Business

Hiring a marketing agency can be a scary thing, and understandably so. It takes an enormous sense of trust to give an individual or group of people the “keys to your kingdom” when it comes to how your business is presented to the world. This is something that the District Maven team takes very seriously, making it our priority to truly get to know our clients and their businesses from the inside out.

Be cautious of marketing companies that apply a “one size fits all” approach, with little regard to your brand’s specific history, nuances or objectives. Clients should never feel like a number or just “another account” to their creative team. These details may seem small, but truly can be all the difference when it comes to your marketing efforts (and actually seeing a return on investment in them).

Withholds Full Access To Passwords, Collateral Or Other Creative Materials After Being Paid For A Completed Project

We wish we could say that this doesn’t happen all the time, but... it does -- and it is shady! Typically this occurs when a client decides to go in a different direction after working with a marketing professional or team, and they are less than thrilled about it.

Withholding (or changing) passwords, collateral, or other creative is downright wrong, full stop. Before signing anything, make sure to ask your prospective marketing agency how the transfer of information is handled when a contract is dissolved. Anything less than full disclosure and an easy ownership transition should be seen as a major red flag.

One of the first things that District Maven reminds potential clients is that everything we do for them is their intellectual property. After a project is completed and paid for, everything involved with it belongs to the client no matter what. We will never keep important information or materials from clients, regardless of how the relationship ends.


Image

about us

For over a decade, District Maven has worked with businesses across the country to establish a formidable and profitable brand online. This is a responsibility that we take very seriously. Regardless of the industry or client, trust, respect and integrity are at the heart of every relationship we maintain -- and we wouldn't have it any other way.

Latest on instagram



Recent Projects


Request A Quote


Contact BasicsStep 1 of 3