content marketing agency red flags

7 Marketing Agency Red Flags to Watch Out For

Grace Avilez
Content Writer


  • Every agency looks good on the surface – making brands look great is what they do! You need to dig a little deeper when assessing different agencies.
  • Flexibility is a major factor: avoid marketing agencies that try and force you into specific packages full of things you don’t need, or long-term contracts that are hard to get out of. 
  • If a promise looks too good to be true, it probably is. Nobody can guarantee that you’ll get to position 1 on Google – it’s just not how SEO works; there are too many uncontrollable factors at play. 
  • Pricing is at the agency’s discretion and can vary wildly depending on many things. Some agencies are very expensive and absolutely worth every cent – others are simply greedy. Know your budget, but also keep an open mind when the agency is explaining the value of what they do. 

7 Major Signs of an Inadequate Marketing Agency

If you’re a business owner, chances are that at some point you’ve considered hiring a marketing agency to help promote your company.

In fact, maybe that’s what you are researching now.

When you’re scoping marketing agencies out, it’s important to be acutely aware of any warning signs that indicate you should run in the other direction.

By being aware of these things, you’ll be able to avoid making a costly mistake⁠, and make sure you find the right agency for your business.

To help you out, here are our top seven red flags that you should be aware of when assessing which marketing agency to work with.

1. Lack of creativity

Creativity is essential to success so if your marketing agency lacks creativity, it’s likely that they will struggle to help your business reach its goals.

One way you can tell if an agency lacks creativity is if you see them using the same tired marketing tactics that everyone else is using. Or, you might notice how they rely too heavily on template solutions, or that their campaigns are boring or monotonous.

If they are not creative in their projects you can almost bet that they are not creative in problem-solving either, which is vital in any industry. So if you see any of these signs, it may be time to look elsewhere.

2. Enforcing long-term contracts

There are other ways of achieving long-term growth than forcing clients into long-term contracts. Sure, agreements can be great for companies looking for stability and predictability in their marketing efforts, but they can also come with some serious risks. It’s just reassuring to be able to pull the pin if things aren’t going the way you wanted.

And consider this: if you have two competent agencies in front of you asking for your business, who would you feel most comfortable with? The one that will be strapping you down for upwards of a year, or the one that offers the same level of work, risk-free, on a monthly basis?

content marketing ideas

3. Poor communication

Not responding to emails or phone calls in a timely manner is one thing that might have you seeking out another agency, but if they are also exhibiting poor communication between the various departments in their company, it can have disastrous consequences⁠—for them and you.

You want an agency that fosters good communication amongst their team and doesn’t leave you hanging either.

A culture of communication ensures that everyone is on the same page and that goals are being met. So make sure the lines are open when choosing your marketing team.

4. Over promising results

Risky business is when a marketing agency over-promises and under-delivers. When an agency promises results that they can’t fulfil, it could be a sign that they are desperate for business – so much so that they tell you what you want to hear in order to bring you on board.

The sad part is, that you end up investing in marketing efforts that don’t produce the desired outcomes.

It can be tricky to steer clear of this one: how could you know if a promise is unlikely to eventuate?

The secret to avoiding this pitfall is to ask for case studies and examples of tangible results and to dig deep on your own. You could even contact past clients they have worked with to get a feel for how they operate.

5. Finding unpleasant reviews on them

Before you sign on the dotted line with any marketing agency, it’s important to do your research. Checking reviews is one of the best ways to get an idea of what kind of experience other businesses have had working with that particular agency.

Every agency is different; some are great at generating leads while others excel in creating social media content. By taking the time to read reviews, you can ensure that you’re choosing an agency that you feel will do the best job for you.

man presenting to clients

6. Extravagant pricing 

Whilst most businesses can’t completely do away with marketing, it can get expensive, which can cause you to look closely at budgets and see where things could be tightened up. You might love an agency’s approach and want to do a bit of everything, but keep your head about you and make sure that the agency you’re considering offers the services you really need at realistic prices.

After all, marketing is an investment that should ultimately offer real value to your business.

A good marketing agency will have fair prices and work with you to reach your goals, all while staying within your budget. They will also push back on you if they can see a better, more valuable solution for your business, rather than just trying to blindly pocket your money.

7. Inability to meet deadlines

It can be tough when you’re looking for a new marketing agency. You need one that is reliable and meets deadlines, and it can sometimes be hard to tell from their website or case studies.

After all, agencies are good at presenting themselves in the best light possible… promotion is what they do best!

So, how can you tell if an agency is going to come through on their word? One way is to look closely at their reviews for clues about their efficiency and ability to stick to their deadlines.

If you notice an agency has had problems meeting deadlines in the past, it’s probably not the best choice for you – the whole idea of outsourcing your marketing is to take the stress off your shoulders, not have you chasing your agency or their freelancers for work that should have been done yesterday.

Where can you find a great marketing agency these days?

As you can see, it can quickly turn into a nightmare when you go with the wrong marketing agency. That’s why it’s important to do your research before choosing one.

The truth is, not all agencies are created equal and not all will be the right fit for your business.


If you’re looking for an experienced, honest, and efficient agency that can help you achieve your online marketing goals, contact Chameleon Marketing Collective today. We would be happy to discuss your needs and see how we can help you grow your business.

Get help with your content marketing
We're here to help you get your marketing organised - let's work together!
green circle