Why are agencies so bad at their own marketing?

Why are agencies so bad at applying the smart advice they give their clients, to their own businesses?

I’m on a mission this year to apply everything I teach my clients to my own business and this inspired me to record this episode.

Time Stamp

[1:41] It’s hard to remove yourself from the business and stand in the client’s shoes and be your best client

[1:50] Are you stuck on ‘the client service hamster wheel of doom’?

[02:06] Too many rely on referrals and word of mouth

[03:10] The result of a lack of consistent business development is we lurch from feast to famine

[03:50] If you do your own marketing you demonstrate to yourself and your client that your advice actually works!

[04:08] By doing your own marketing you can keep refining what you advise your clients to do

[04:23] Share best practice with your clients and have the confidence to know that it works

[5:00] My advice when you feel you don’t have time to do all this:

[5:15] Put a system in place and do a few activities consistently

[5:35] Don’t expect results immediately but ensure you are consistent at delivering the few activities you’ve chosen to do

[5:50] Don’t get distracted by shiny new objects – there is no easy solution!

[6:35] Outsource as much as you can

[7:35] Try and be your own best customer

[08:00] Do the things you enjoy doing and the things your customer is most receptive to


“We live in an instant gratification world, yet most robust business development strategies deliver in the medium to long-term” - Rob Da Costa
“Try and be your own best customer!” - Rob Da Costa

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 Full Episode Transcription

I'm not a big fan of New Year's resolutions because we set these lofty goals for ourselves that, quite frankly, by February are broken. And that's because these big lofty goals have no detail and no strategy behind them. So we've got no way of actually achieving them now. This episode isn't about New Year's resolutions, however, if I was going to set a new resolution for myself, it would be that I want to apply everything that I teach my clients to my own business. So I thought I would record a podcast episode on why our marketing agencies are so bad at applying the advice that they give to their clients, which is smart to their businesses.

So that's what we're going to talk about today. So let's get on with the show. I'm Rob Da Costa, and this is The Agency Accelerator podcast. As someone who has stood in your shoes, having started growing and selling my agency, I know just how it feels during the ups and the downs of agency life. So this podcast aims to ease your journey just a little by sharing mine and my guest's experiences and advice as you navigate your way to growing a profitable, sustainable and enjoyable business. So, as I said in the introduction, today's podcast is just digging into some of the reasons why marketing agencies are not very good at doing their marketing, why they can't apply what they teach their clients, which is usually really sound advice to their own business.

Now, I know this is true because I hear my clients saying this time and time again, when I give them advice, they say, Rob, I know exactly what you're saying. I know it should be doing this. This is exactly what I tell my clients, but I'm not doing it for myself, which is crazy. So let's just dig in to find out what one earth is going on. So first of all, I think it's hard on your own to remove yourself from the business and stand in the client's shoes and be your best client.

I think many agencies, whether you are a big agency, whether you are the owner of a really small agency or one-person business or freelancer, they're constantly stuck on a client service hamster Wheel of Doom. So they've got no time to think about anything, let alone marketing business development for their agency. And I think too many agencies rely on word of mouth and referrals, and therefore they feel like doing any marketing would be a nice to have a luxurious thing they don't need to do at the moment because they've got these referrals and word of mouth coming in.

Now, if you know, if you listen to me, you know that relying on referrals and word of mouth isn't a strategy. It's just kind of hope and good luck. I think a lot of agency owners know they should be doing their marketing and their busy dev, and they're going to plan to do it, but they never actually get around to doing it themselves. And I think the other thing is that most business development marketing strategies that are robust and work in the medium to long term, and we live in a bit of an instant gratification world, so because we don't get results immediately, we give up or people never get started in the first place because they know it's going to take three months, six months to get any results.

Uh-huh. I think also quite honestly, they realised that a lot of this is hard work and therefore they don't do it. And so they can't remove themselves from their day to day stuff to see the wood for the trees. And what happens with all of that is that we lurched from feast or famine because when projects come to an end and we don't have new people waiting in the wings to join us, we then go to a place of famine, which is a place of panic where we make really poor decisions.

So I'm sure you can relate to some of those reasons why I think agency owners are not very good at doing their marketing. I'm sure I've missed a few hours love to hear from you if you can think of other ones. But I think those are the ones that I see occurring time and time again with my clients and with the agencies that I interact with. So now let's spend a few moments just digging into the benefits of practising the advice that we give our clients.

So I think first of all if you do the marketing yourself in your agency that you're telling your clients to do. Then we demonstrate to ourselves and our clients that the advice works, and that gives us lots of confidence to keep doing it. If we practise what we tell our clients and therefore we can keep refining it, we can find better ways of doing things. We can find better processes based on genuinely our own experience and the results that we're getting that help us provide a better service for our clients.

So that's the second kind of key benefit of doing their marketing. Third is that we ensure we are sharing best practice current advice with our clients, and we can do it in a very confident way because we know it works. And that's the fourth point that we feel confident that the advice we're giving genuinely works because it's working for ourselves. And of course, if we practise this, then we get results and the results help improve and grow our business. So those are five pretty compelling reasons why you should be making time to do your marketing and use it to help you serve your clients even better.

So that's all very well, and you might be sitting there listening to this saying Yep. Rob, I completely agree with you, but I am as you identified at the beginning, I'm really busy. I'm stuck on what the client service hamster will do. I've got no time to think. I'm already working long hours, and I know I should be doing this stuff, but I haven't got time. So what do you suggest? So here are a few thoughts on that. First of all, I think you need to put a system in place and focus on a few things that you know work well for you and do them consistently.

And as I said, the most robust business development and marketing strategies will deliver in the medium to long term. And that means you need to start today to start getting the results in three months or six months. And that leads me to another point, which is don't expect results immediately but to be consistent. And if you put a system in place, then you can allocate the time in your diary regularly. You can work out how to automate as much of it delegate as much as you possibly can and then you will start getting results.

I think the next thing, as well as you, need to make sure you don't get seduced by shiny new objects because there are so many distractions fighting for our attention. There are so many people promising the new promised land of the latest marketing trend and you know what? They don't work. They come and go like so many things, whereas the old traditional marketing strategies work, like building an email list and networking and showing up on linked inconsistently and adding value to your audience and all of those great things running workshops and so on.

Those things work, and the new promised land just usually isn't the new promised land, and it becomes a huge distraction for us. So make sure that you remove those shiny new objects. Then I think you want to outsource as much as you possibly can, and at the very least, get a VA who can run some of the mechanics for you and make sure that you are getting things done. That's exactly what I do. I have a VA team that enables me to get stuff done because they say, Hey, Rob, we need this from you by this date and if they weren't there, kind of prompts me. And, you know, uploading these podcasts and editing these podcasts and uploading the videos and editing the videos and putting content on my blog and so on, then it just wouldn't happen.

A lot of times people say, Rob, how do you get so much stuff done in terms of my marketing? And the truth is, it's because I've got a really good VA team, and you don't have to spend a lot of money on this. You just need to be smart, and you need to work out what you can outsource and what you can delegate to other people. So kind of tie this back to the beginning. That's what I'm doing this year. My kind of New Year's resolution that isn't a New Year resolves to put into place all the things that I teach my clients and try to be my best customer, not only for my marketing but for all aspects of running my business, such as having a really clear vision for the year and breaking that down into quarterly strategies and monthly plans and then delegating as much as I possibly can and then using software tools to help automate some of that.

So I hope this really short episode gives you a bit of food for thought and maybe the thing that you need to do. Soon as you stop listening to this podcast is grab a pen and paper and start making a plan. And remember, do the things that you enjoy doing that you're confident that you can keep doing. Don't set yourself a task of doing something you know nothing about. So don't think. Oh, I know I need to start shooting videos for the YouTube channel. If you've never shoot a video before, you don't know how to edit, and you don't have a Youtube channel, do the things that work.

And the most important thing, of course, is you need to hang out where your audience hangs out. So no, the things that they are most receptive to doing, and then you need to start doing them and do a few and do them well and don't expect results until the medium to long term. Now, as ever, if you've enjoyed this episode, please do, make sure you've hit the subscribe button. So you're alerted every Thursday when a new episode comes out. And also, if you enjoyed it, please consider leaving a review.

Since that helps the algorithm show my podcast to more people just like you or my Youtube channel. Two more people just like you. Which means I can help more people. So short episode on why you need to start making sure you're doing the marketing for your agency or your team is doing the marketing and business development for your agency. And you're not relying on word of mouth and referrals. I hope you found that useful. Have a great rest of the week and I will see you next week on the next episode of The Agency Accelerator podcast. Yeah, yeah.

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