Expert Nicole Powell Shares The Common Red Flags Of Ineffective Marketing Agencies

Nicole Powell Red Flags Of Ineffective Marketing Agencies
Photo Courtesy: Stephanie Zettl of Zettl Photography

Nicole Powell, the leader of HALCON Marketing Solutions and an expert in brand storytelling and strategy, dives head first into what red flags small to mid-level businesses need to look out for to avoid suffering from “agency anxiety” when hiring ineffective marketing agencies that promise success but fail to deliver.

Selecting the appropriate digital marketing agency to assist you in expanding your business is one of the most crucial choices you’ll make as a business owner. If only a list of subpar marketing agencies existed, everyone’s job would be more straightforward. 

However, since such a list does not exist, it’s essential to conduct thorough research to find the right agency for your needs and to know how to avoid those fluttering red flags.

To gain valuable insights on the key factors to watch out for when selecting a marketing agency to partner with, we reached out to the secret weapon of marketing success, entrepreneur and brand strategist, CEO and founder Nicole Powell

Described as the guardian of storytelling, her powerhouse business Halcon Marketing Solutions is a creative champion headquartered in the Greater St. Louis area, yielding conversions for small to mid businesses. 

Yet, it’s Powell’s unique infusion of neuromarketing and expertise on customers’ subconscious minds that is flipping the idea of data-collecting surveys on its head.

As someone with a wealth of knowledge and experience in the industry, Powell is well-known for utilizing various methodologies to deeply understand your brand’s audience. 

After listening to numerous horror stories from clients who had partnered with previous ineffective agencies and suffered what she refers to as “post-agency anxiety,” Powell was determined to demonstrate to brands that there is a better way to succeed – an alternative solution per se.

So, to avoid wasting time and money on agencies that fail to deliver their promises of success, here are Nicole Powell’s five red flags and warning signs you should keep an eye on when hiring a marketing agency.

Feeling The Vibes When Meeting An Agency For The First Time

With an influx of marketing agencies to choose from, all saying similar things on various media outlets, it can be challenging to find the right fit. Meeting a representative or the team in person could be the key to making a decision, as there should be positive energy between you and the team you’re entrusting with your business.

“Do you enjoy working with these people? Do they give a good vibe?” says Powell. “Creativity flourishes when we’re all inspired and we like each other. But if you feel “off” from the start, the universe might be telling you it’s not a great fit. Remember, you will be collaborating with this team and investing in their talents. You need to make sure you want and will enjoy working with them. Great ideas won’t flourish if we’re focused on all those interpersonal problems.”

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Photo Courtesy: Stephanie Zettl of Zettl Photography

Guaranteeing ‘Gunshot’ Speed Sales Success

Waving in at number two is the promise of lightning-speed results in a certain amount of time. While marketing, by its nature, does involve a certain level of risk – there is no assurance that the promised number of visitors to your website or leads will materialize. 

“If anyone tells you ‘I can guarantee X amount of sales, be wary,'” shares Powell. “How can you guarantee purchases in an initial meeting without knowing anything about the client and their business, target audience, location…Humans are unpredictable and complex; if it were easy to predict record sales, we would all be millionaires.” 

For this to happen, agencies need to be research and brand-strategy-driven. We all want guaranteed life-changing results, but why aren’t more people experiencing them if they are so readily available? So, don’t be fooled by vanity metrics or guarantees. Instead, focus on whether you are making sales and if the agency is taking the time to get to know your business and your consumers.

A Relationship Lacking Transparency

In every new relationship, having transparency is critical to success. After all, as partners, establishing open and honest communication channels is crucial for working towards a common goal. But be cautious of agencies who fail to provide clear guidelines and objectives or lack straightforward onboarding and offboarding processes.

“If they are more concerned about owning things like usernames and passwords or needing to purchase all of the platforms on their account, you need to ask who will own the content or final products if you part ways.?” asks Powell. “Remember, if they aren’t helpful or communicative now, how helpful will they be if you forget your login information or lose something later? Will they leave you in the dust?” 

So if you start feeling like there’s no collaboration between the pair of you, or the agency is not complying with sharing its methods, progress reports, or analytics data, be wary; it’s a red flag.

Nobody wants to sit stuck in the mud, having wasted time and effort on misunderstandings and unsatisfactory results. 

An Emphasis To Lock You In For The Long Term

“Imagine committing to someone after having met them once for X amount of dollars a year – that’s kind of scary,” shares Powell. “For this reason, we believe in month-to-month contracts at HALCON Marketing Solutions simply because if we do a good job, why would you fire us?”

“It’s also an incentive for us to continue doing a good job,” she continues. And one way of checking in on this is to have reassurance that a marketing agency has been there, done that – and done it well. 

So anyone who is reluctant to give you resources or wants to lock you in for a super long term could be a red flag. Review their previous work, such as campaigns or case studies, to glimpse their success stories and request referrals for a well-earned peace of mind. 

It is always important to ask for clarification on the contract, as your brand’s reputation and budget are at stake.

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Photo Courtesy: Stephanie Zettl of Zettl Photography

Watch Out For An Absence Of Proactiveness Or Collaboration  

The agency’s top priority should be staying on top of trends and emerging new approaches to improve your brand’s marketing results. But if you notice their head is in the sand and they are not proactive – it’s a red flag.

“You can notice this in the beginning,” advises Powell. “They’re unwilling to play ball with anyone from your team or another agency. They’ll let mistakes slide because that’s not in their wheelhouse or their scope of work. 

They are only concerned with what THEY are doing and can care less about being part of your team while being secretive about their processes and ideas. If they don’t take an interest in what’s going on with your business, how can they be proactive with new ideas or provide solutions?”

She continues. “This ties into red flag warnings of an agency being super possessive and defensive with ideas – so if you are like that, how are we going to create great ideas together?”

So, keep your eyes peeled for the over-promises and the under-deliveries. Ask the right questions, set clear boundaries, and seek an agency that provides authentic tactics, clear communication, and friendly connections.

From the takeaways above, finding an effective marketing agency that caters to your brand’s unique needs is essential. Someone whose mission is to “create innovative and disruptive marketing campaigns that yield real-world results.”

At HALCON Marketing Solutions, Nicole Powell and her team use their neuromarketing and psychology research, brand strategy, and real-world experience to transform the lives of small- to mid-sized businesses.

After all, “Why settle for a whisper when you can create a symphony?” Powell concludes.

For more information, tap into their website or personally reach out on Link

Published by: Martin De Juan


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