Why you had a bad experience with a 'marketing' agency

Updated: Aug 26, 2021

The most common phrase we encounter when we have an initial meeting with a client, speak to a possible client, or even in everyday conversation say “I run/work for a marketing agency” normally the answer to that is “I don't like agencies” or “I’ve only had negative experiences with agencies”, “agencies don't do anything”, “agencies don't care about our business” and so on.

This bad taste left in potential clients' mouths seems like a plague and honestly doesn't help either party. As the co-founder of an agency this makes gaining the clients trust more daunting and as a business owner, the client often ends up keeping things in house. Having a marketing manager is good and we encourage it but in today's age it is next to impossible for one person to handle all the different segments which are changing on a daily basis and is not cost effective to maintain a whole team. Agencies have professional employees specialised in a specific field (some the best in the business *hint* *hint*) and are affordable as their costs are stretched with multiple clients.

I hope this article can shed some light on why you may have had a bad experience with an agency.

You didn’t deal with a marketing agency

If you happened to read my last article, I briefly explained the different aspects of marketing. It is easy to get these things confused and there is a lot of misleading information available that tends to give most people the wrong impression. Dubai is saturated with agencies and it is really difficult to identify and choose the right one.

Most agencies specialise in social media content creation. They make good content, post it for you and rely on a boost to get engagement. They do a good job too, but if you are more interested in lead generation and using social media to get more converting clients, as opposed to a profile that looks good but does not convert then you won’t have much luck.

You have PR agencies that provide Influencer Marketing and do not do Online Customer Relationship Management (ORM) or press releases.

The list goes on and this is no way your fault. Many ‘marketing agencies’ are tech savvy creators who watch ‘how to’ videos or are just glorified graphic designers.

But Don, how do I tell the difference?

An agency that does not formulate a full analysis of your market, skips segmentation or doesn’t devise the right strategy for your business is not a marketing agency.

You were oversold and were not given realistic expectations


Just like building a business, marketing takes time and patience. You cannot expect it to be at its peak in days. You cannot stay ahead of your competition that has been executing a good marketing plan for years and you expect it overnight, even if you have a better plan or product. Every business is different but you need to have a good plan in order to see good results.

Going back to having a lot of wrong information floating around, yes Facebook ads work wonders. But did you know that your ads take about 45 days to be optimised and hit a high converting audience? Formulating an effective plan even if the research and statistics are ready takes a month minimum so yes, you will see improvement but do not expect a jump from point A to Z immediately.

Developing a product, creating and executing an ad campaign, an effective social media strategy and much more is a process. Many agencies want to make as much money as they can, while others (like us) are more interested in a long term business relationship where your business grows at a pace that converts, not only looks good.


If you as a business owner have hired an agency or team to handle your marketing, let them handle your marketing. Yes you should give your personal opinion and insight but bear in mind a good marketing agency will focus on keeping your customers happy. However if a marketing agency does not advise against something and is worried they will lose you as a client if they say no, sadly it's not a good agency. If the agency has done sufficient research they will be able to explain why a particular request is not advisable.

A marketing agency and a client need to work with each other, not against each other.

Also, bear in mind that your friend who is a beauty blogger and has a highly engaging Instagram account, while successful in his/her niche, may not be the best person to listen to when it comes to your particular business. To put things into perspective, no two accounts are the same. Your competition’s plan most likely will not work for you and vice versa. Every business should have its own unique selling point and cannot borrow or mimic others. We at DCTA pay close attention to creating the best possible plan for your business, thus providing results. You hired experts, let them do their jobs. If you feel they are not, you need to consider looking at another team.

You picked the wrong agency

Sadly there are a lot of agencies that do not perform well. Either they are too profit driven, just not skilled enough, think of marketing as a quick and easy business or simply do not see your vision. You need to be mindful and see how comfortable you are with them. Communication and partnership is a very important factor, it is part of the reason we understand our clients' businesses and truly take on their goal as ours before we even send an initial pitch across.

It is never too late to start marketing. All agencies are not built the same, we have our strengths and weaknesses. At DCTA if, following our initial meetings we feel that we are not suited for a client, we do not pursue it. As an ‘Ad man’ I want what is best for my clients and keep their business in mind no matter the size of the account. Most of our clients come in via referrals and that is testament to the work and effort we do. We have a strong company ethos and we ensure that every member of our team puts in their best for every client.

This blog was in no way meant to throw shade on or offend anyone, but keeping with our company's principals we will always be straightforward and honest. Feel free to share your opinion and thoughts and as always do let us know if we can help your business.

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