Top 5 Outsourced Marketing Red Flags to Avoid

Team Pepper
Posted on 28/12/217 min read
Top 5 Outsourced Marketing Red Flags to Avoid
Outsourced marketing can be tricky when you are new to the marketing game. Look out for these five key outsourced marketing red flags in your next campaign.

We often hear businesses and marketing agencies talk about measuring digital marketing effectiveness for improved sales. While some entirely dismiss digital marketing as a fancy trend with no real value, others think it’s a purely technical subject that will remain beyond their comprehension. And yet others believe it’s a subject relevant only to big businesses. 

With so many myths surrounding digital marketing, it becomes imperative to understand the concept down to the tiniest detail. At the same time, marketers must be aware of potential marketing red flags when it comes to outsourcing work. 

Outsourcing Digital Marketing

As we know digital marketing is the use of digital channels to realize marketing objectives. It uses the internet and digital technologies such as mobile phones, computers, and other digital media to promote products and services. Essentially, it’s a form of targeted, measurable, and interactive marketing that uses digital technologies to reach viewers, turn them into customers, and retain them for repeated business.

Your competitors are already using digital marketing. They are already creating social profiles, optimizing their websites for SEO, and running paid ads to reach new leads. So if you haven’t started already, it is time to do so. 

There are two ways to include digital marketing in your business — having an in-house marketing team or outsourcing to a digital agency. 

For all means and purposes, this blog focuses on the red flags to avoid when outsourcing digital marketing services. 

Now let’s look at some of the top outsourced marketing red flags to look out for. 

Outsourced Marketing Red Flags to Look Out For

While some businesses have in-house digital marketing teams, others outsource their digital marketing work. You can choose either one based on your resources and your business needs. If you plan on outsourcing digital marketing services, here are a few marketing red flags to avoid. 

1. Communication gaps

Communication gap


This is a huge marketing red flag and the biggest reason clients switch agencies. Communication is vital because it brings everyone on the same page. So, it is unacceptable to have to chase down an agency for every little thing. It’s also not a good sign if no one at the agency seems willing to take responsibility. 

For desired marketing effectiveness, hire a responsible digital marketing firm that pays heed to you and accepts your input. Ensure your digital marketing partner is clear about what you expect from them in terms of work quality, promptness, support, etc.

Know who your point of contact is throughout the project. Additionally, keep an eye out for hints. Sometimes, little things can signal more extensive problems. For instance, if your agency people are constantly late for meetings without any heads-up, they probably don’t value your time.

Poor reporting is another sign they don’t prioritize open lines of communication. You can prevent yourself from being exploited by an unworthy marketing agency by identifying flaws in the communication process early on. This will save you not only time but also a lot of capital. 

Benefits of hiring a marketing agency


2. Unusually low prices

It’s not difficult to find marketing agencies that offer their services at throwaway prices. Although clients might be lured by the idea of being able to save money, partnering with such an agency doesn’t always work.

Let’s try to understand why. Some people prefer to spend on expensive shoes that they know will last a lifetime, while others purchase cheap shoes and then replace them every few months after they wear out. Which shoe shopper do you think experiences less hassle? 

The former, of course! The most important key performance indicators (KPI), such as traffic and brand awareness, can only be achieved by hiring a good marketing agency without worrying about the fee they charge. 

Also, note that cheap isn’t always profitable. Have you ever wondered how some agencies can offer their services at incredibly low prices? By cutting corners! They are probably outsourcing large amounts of their work or handling multiple projects simultaneously, without attaching importance to any. 

Their secret to low pricing might lie in their preference for client volume over client retention. If the price is unusually low for a product or service, there has to be something that the makers are compromising on. Definitely a major marketing red flag. 

3. It’s a poorly marketed agency.

Trusting a well-marketed agency is always easier because you know what you can expect for your project. Whether you found the agency through a search engine ad or a social media campaign, it makes sense to ask yourself if you found their copy and creativity appealing. 

An agency that has captivated you with its ads is undeniably a strong contender on your list of options. A company with a good SEO ranking and organic social media feeds proves that its managers and creative team are above par and highly invested. 

Choosing the right agency


Inquire if they have partner status. Partnering with Facebook, WooCommerce, and other large trusted companies is often a sign that an agency is worth hiring. Facebook says that only those companies that meet their highest standards of capability and performance are granted the Facebook Marketing Partner badge. 

Therefore, an agency with a partner status can be a safer choice. Note that some of the most important digital marketing metrics, such as search engine ranking, will seem unachievable without a solid digital marketing team by your side.

4. Tunnel vision

According to ZenBusiness, 85% of all businesses suffer from tunnel vision, or the inability to focus on the big picture. It is a huge marketing red flag. 

If your agency is only taking measures to improve your search engine results or is simply redoing your blogs, they are not implementing a comprehensive marketing solution. Instead of focusing on your business’s holistic growth, they are probably focusing on completing the job at hand fast so that they can move on to the next client. 

A marketing agency that truly understands your business will tailor solutions in line with your goals. For instance, they will examine if your website is consistent with your social media and will recognize that your copy is as important as your SEO. 

A good agency will examine the area of digital marketing in its entirety. And no, this isn’t upselling. This just shows they care about your business and understand the importance of consistency in marketing. 

Tunnel vision in a marketing agency


To plan the most important KPIs in digital marketing and then undertake marketing activities keeping them in view, you will need a digital marketing firm that cares about focusing on the big picture. 

Remember, ineffective campaigns bring nothing to the table. And since measuring digital marketing campaigns based on effectiveness is the norm, having effective campaigns in your marketing plan is indispensable. And to develop effective campaigns, you require comprehensive support from your agency. 

5. Poor client retention

Customer retention


Customer acquisition is important, but customer retention is one of the KPIs digital marketing agencies are often judged on. It’s a massive achievement for agencies to have clients coming back to them to avail their services. It is an indication that they are doing things right.

An agency that does not receive repeat business might have serious flaws and is least likely to last long. However, it’s not easy for customers to find out the true client retention rate of an agency. 

Here’s what you can do to find out about an agency’s customer retention rate:

  • You can check their social profiles, especially on LinkedIn. Are there any positive interactions with clients or endorsements? If yes, it’s a good sign.
  • Ask around. Do you know anyone in your sector or the marketing industry who is familiar with this agency? What is their opinion?
  • Check out online reviews to see if their previous clients were willing to work with them again.

Remember, client retention is one of the biggest digital marketing performance metrics. And no effort you put into finding the true customer retention rate of an agency can be too much.

The Final Word

The above-mentioned outsourced marketing red flags will assist you in making an informed decision when choosing a digital marketing firm. With the right knowledge, you will be able to hire professionals that will provide actionable suggestions, in addition to a tailored approach to handling tasks.

An agency trying to sell you an off-the-rack solution is a strict no-no. Why? They are working without factoring in your unique goals and challenges as a business. Remember, the digital marketing landscape is highly dynamic and is constantly evolving. Hence, you can’t take a chance on an agency you won’t be able to pin your hopes on.

Key Takeaways

  • Digital marketing is the use of digital channels to realize marketing objectives.
  • Traditional marketing strategies were restricted in their reach and ability to influence customers’ buying behavior.
  • With digital marketing, businesses can establish a great deal of authority online.
  • Digital marketing enables easy tracking of a campaign’s effectiveness.
  • Some prominent outsourced marketing red flags include poor client retention, narrow vision, low service cost, and communication gaps. 


1. What is outsourced marketing?

When you entrust a third party with your business marketing activities, it’s called outsourced marketing.

2. When should marketing be outsourced?

Marketing should be outsourced when your revenue needs a boost, your current staff is overworked, your marketing strategies have fallen apart, you are highly time-pressed, or you are disappointed with your marketing results.

3. What are some of the most important outsourced marketing red flags?

Some prominent red flags to keep an eye out for include poor communication, unusually cheap services, a narrow marketing vision, and poor client retention. A marketing agency that shows these characteristics are better kept at an arm’s length.

4. What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing involves the use of the internet and other digital technologies for the promotion of products and services.

5. How to measure digital marketing effectiveness?

The most important digital marketing metrics include web traffic, average time spent per visit, customer retention, revenue per client, etc.