Before you chose what type of agency you want to hire, you might find out if they're even worth hiring at all. How to shop for a marketing agency and sort out the leget ones from those that are full of hot air is super easy.

Agencies: Please Practice What You Preach

If an agency has failed at their own marketing, how the hell should you expect them to succeed at yours? Best way to easily test this:

Step 1) Head to Website Grader.

Step 2) Enter the website URL of the agency you’re vetting.

Report card derived from Website Grader

A marketing agency with a failed website might be okay to put together a newspaper ad, but please don’t hire them for any digital marketing.

1) The “Implementer” Agency

When working with an Implementer, the question of how to shop for a marketing agency is easy—you do nothing, or almost nothing. But is that really what you want?

The Implementer Model

You can't do marketing without implementing marketing tasks. But should implementation be your primary focus? 

This is the classic, traditional marketing agency. Their focus will be on impressions and ad spend.

Like everyone, they'll talk a lot about "strategy." The weight of their strategy will be on what to do, on what their deliverables will look like, how they’re going to do A/B testing and what they'll supply for reporting. But be discerning here, because “results” can mean anything from impressions and audience reach to putting money in the bank.

Impressions, audience reach, and even volume of leads mean nothing unless money is going into your bank account. 

Implementers like to develop a full prescription of all you should be doing in your marketing. They’re good at citing metrics, reports, graphs, global marketing trends, industry buzz, and niche marketing forecasts.

Their Ideal Client

  • Has a huge, care-free ad budget with a goal of throwing money into every available channel. 
  • Is focused on and familiar with traditional marketing—radio, T.V., print, trade shows, etc.
  • Has a high level of trust in agencies (They haven’t yet been burned).
  • Existing company success; no huge growth concerns. As long as someone is doing the marketing and churning out great looking reports, all is well.

2) The “Goal Based” Agency

Goal-driven agencies are a product of the digital marketing age. Their focus will be on your goals and BANT and what and how you’re planning to achieve your goals.

How to shop for a marketing agency that is goal based should require even more scrutiny of their digital footprint—that is, their website.

Look for the "A" rating from Website Grader and check their content, especially their blog. Are they blogging about their cat climbing the Christmas tree or about things of value for you?

The Goal Based Model

Once they interview you and know your goals, they’ll develop a plan to help you achieve them. Their focus will be less on ad spend and more on lead acquisition.

Their Ideal Client

  • Has growth goals but doesn’t know how to achieve them.
  • Is aware that achieving goals today will require a focus on digital marketing—a good website, SEO, other channels of digital marketing.
  • Probably has tried the DIY route with an internal team but it's not performed and needs help.

3) The “Growth Based” Agency

This highly radical, new model will produce the most growth in revenue especially for companies trying to scale or who are up against fierce competition. 

Growth Based agency owners have personality profiles that are out-of-the box, absurdly passionate, 24/7 highly motivated, and very competitive. 

Their business cultures often are equally radical, offering perks like unlimited personal time off, a penchant to have fun at work, not to mention finding freedom from the bounds of brick and mortar while employing an international team.

The Growth Based Model

Growth Based agencies will have a massive focus on the company owner's pain. The agency will want to learn in-depth details about your business and what you’d like to achieve. These agencies will focus on aggressive marketing campaigns, ROI, revenue growth, and your ability to handle rapid growth.

Their sales process is more like a job interview. They will be more interested in seeing if you will be a good fit for their agency and, if not, they will refuse to take you on as a client. 

Their Ideal Client

  • Has tried everything, is burned out, out of solutions, and is desperate to crush his or her sales goals.
  • Is highly motivated to do what it takes to succeed.
  • Is not maxed out, tapped out, or constantly worrying about capacity issues.
  • Has dreams of what they would do with a sudden infusion of cash into their business.


Any of the marketing models above will work with any lead-gen vertical. E-comm, however,  requires digital marketing; traditional marketing (magazine ads) can produce, but at a horrible ROI.

Choose wisely. You’ll notice the hierarchy: from you being only nominally engaged to being completely vested in the tangible growth of your business.

Which model to you think we have adopted?



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