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Demystifying the 6 Objections When Hiring a Marketing Agency | Blog | Hawke Media

A team collaborating in a workplace.

Many businesses today embrace digital marketing as an essential component of their growth strategy. But for some, digital marketing and all the various channels (and benefits) that come with it, is still a nuance, in some circumstances even unwelcome. 

I’ve consulted with thousands of founders, marketing executives, and partners at companies from around the world, of all stages and sizes, and across just about every industry. But despite the value that a digital marketing agency like Hawke media can bring to the table for brands, I began to notice a pattern in the conversations I was having when objections to working with an agency came to light. 

So, we’re here to demystify the top 7 objections and clear the air so you can feel good about your future when it comes to hiring an agency. 

1) Budget

You: “Yeah, you guys look good but we just don’t have the budget.”

Hawke Media: “No problem! I totally get it and just wanted to present something that I would recommend. Now we can work within the constraints you have to figure out where to get started. Do you mind giving me an idea of what that budget is? I am happy to rework this proposal to fit within it.”

We understand money is the key ingredient to making a business go ‘round. You have to be careful where you’re spending and who you’re investing in. The good news is, you don’t have to throw all your eggs in the basket from the jump. A targeted approach is often the best way to make things come to life, without sacrificing your entire payroll. 

We’ll assess your current organization, your goals and determine what we think are the most important channels to begin executing on first, instead of taking everything on at once so you feel comfortable easing in and your wallet is thrilled too, and ready to begin growing. 

Tip: Be careful with clinging too tightly to budgetary excuses and be honest with yourself as to why you’re clinging so tightly and is causing you to be stagnant? Because in our experience, inaction is more often the killer overtaking the wrong action. 

#2 Performance-Based 

You: “Everything looks good but why wouldn’t we pay you based off performance not just a retainer?”

Hawke Media: “I totally understand why that feels like it would make sense at a high level, but it is actually not as aligned as it would appear. The problem with agencies that make money on performance is their job is to mitigate all risk and get a short term gain (unless you are signing a very long term contract). That means they are not incentivized to do anything that is more long term focused like brand building or increasing the lifetime value of a customer. Both incredibly important to you? Or is it not?”

We try to structure everything to be as close to hiring employees as possible and all of the benefits that come with that. Our people don’t want to lose you as a client, in fact they are paid based on retention, not how much you invest with us. That means they are going to always be more responsible and transparent with your money.

Case Example: It under-rewards the Agency in the beginning and over-rewards me as we grow (which incentivizes you to cut me loose). If I make 10% of all of your sales, you’re stoked when it’s $30k/month. When it’s $100k or $200k and you’re “over-paying” me, you’ll end the relationship. By succeeding as a partner we are working ourselves out of a job and taking it on the chin for the first half.

The other piece is that if my goal is to drive sales rather than build your brand – I’m an affiliate, not a marketing partner. I can do a dozen things to spike sales, collect my cash, and disappear. 

Those might be heavy discounts, heavy direct response language, tons of sends to the existing e-mail list, inconsistent messaging in advertising, misleading ads, etc. All this would be in the spirit of building short term sales, not long term brand equity.

#3 Industry Expertise

You: “Yea, all of that sounds good but it doesn’t look like you have a lot of experience in subscription sunglasses.”

Hawke Media: “We have worked with 1500 different companies in countless industries. What we have found is it is much more beneficial to work with marketers that have a broad knowledge of marketing and a deep knowledge of their marketing channel, like Facebook advertising. This allows them to pull from different industries and be truly innovative. We have yet to find an agency that specializes in one industry and is actually any good.

Every once in a while this makes sense, but generally, you are going to find way more success in people that are experts in the marketing tools available, not your industry. The consistent problem with industry-focused agencies is they don’t innovate. They stick with what works and everyone looks the same. The way we work, that is not an option, which is why we have successfully worked in dozens of industries without any prior experience, because we are here to bring the tools to the table and we are the best at what we do, and we know how to look to you for the industry experience.

What’s more important than category experience is experience in eCommerce. Regardless of what we’re selling online, we’re selling these products through the same channels and use the same strategies to optimize and grow sales in those channels.

Honestly, we have worked with companies from a vitamin that helps women to produce breastmilk to the law firm bringing the lawsuit against football for concussions, successfully. We actually found that having someone just focused on a single vertical, limits their ability to view things outside the box, versus someone that can pull tactics from a diverse background. The talent we have is an expert in their specific type of marketing and how to leverage it for any goal. We will work with you to gain that specific industry knowledge necessary.”

#4 Price

You: “Yea, you guys look great but you are much more expensive than the other agencies we are talking to.”

“Well, we have 15% margins so there are only two ways another agency is way cheaper. One, they are paying their people way less money (so most likely very junior) or two, they are spending way less time on working with you. Or they just pay their employees below minimum wage. I will let you pick your poison there. Marketing and Sales aren’t just about the direct cost, but also the opportunity cost. You can probably find someone to manage all of your marketing for $100, but it is important to understand what you are actually getting for that.”

With our experience, the odds are far better​ that Hawke Media is the right move. We work with more brands than any other agency on the planet. Our throughput provides us with more access to relevant data, to make the right choices. However, if your gut is telling you to go elsewhere, I have to respect that. We are humbly data-driven and when that makes more sense please give us a shot.

#5 Competition​

You: “Ok, yeah, this looks good but we are talking to a few other agencies.”

Hawke Media: “The consistent problem with industry-focused agencies is they don’t innovate. They stick with what works and everyone looks the same. The way we work, that is not an option, which is why we have successfully worked in dozens of industries without any prior experience, because we are here to bring the tools to the table and we are the best at what we do, and we know how to look to you for the industry experience.”

#6 Think About It

Prospect: “Let me think about it and get back to you.

Hawke Media: “Definitely understand, What’s going to change between now and then?

If it is a money issue I would love to work it out, but I would be very careful because, in my experience, inaction is more often a killer in business than the wrong action. Case and point, some brands choosing to double down during COVID are seeing the strongest months since BFCM. ECommerce sales have doubled, this could have been you if you identified the opportunity in a crisis.

No matter what your objections are, hiring the right marketing agency or consultancy will often lead to opportunity, innovation, and revenue. The right agency won’t hide behind long contracts and metrics that don’t matter to you as a business owner or executive. That’s who we are at Hawke. If you’re interested in learning more, fill out the form below for a free consultation.

This article originally appeared in the HawkeMedia blog and has been published here with permission.

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