Mad Men. A show many of us are still having withdrawals from since it ended. A show that showed us that smoking could be smokin.’ A show where the fictional, Sterling Cooper advertising agency, pulled back the smoke-stained curtain and revealed the truth about what it’s really like to work at an ad agency. Right? Wrong. This happens to be a myth. Although we do like to consume a Manhattan and Old Fashion occasionally, it seems there are many myths behind what working with a marketing agency is truly like. We are here to set the story straight! So put down the lighter and your glass of scotch, we are going to reveal the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help us Don Draper.

1. Marketing Companies Are Too Expensive: Many perceive marketing agencies as spending extensive amounts of money on long extended lunches, steak dinners, and martinis. An agency that spends all afternoon golfing with their clients, wining and dining them, talking ‘business’ then somehow dumping those costs into a “miscellaneous expense” category, and submitting them back to the client as a part of their billing. If these practices were ever done, they are no longer acceptable. Marketing firms now focus on providing meaningful and measurable results for clients. Costs in a proposal are clearly spelled out and clarified for a customer. From a project estimation, to re-estimating specifications when changes are made, the client is alerted before moving forward and costs occur. A marketing agency tries to be flexible and is always aware of a client’s budget, working to meet their goals but always staying within the budget lines. So enough of those dirty thoughts and dirty martinis. Marketing agencies are upfront and sterling.

2. Marketing Agencies Will Leak My Business Information & Pitch to My Competitor: Wrong. Wrong. Completely and utterly WRONG! The truth of the matter is you can trust a professional marketing firm to not disclose information to the competition, and others in the industry, no matter how minute or small the detail. The code of ethics applies to us just as much as it does to you. Both parties will sign non-disclosure agreements. However, as a marketer, why would we want to potentially ruin the relationship we have with a current client to gain what could be a possible client? We wouldn’t. The trust, security, and strength of a relationship are everything in our business.

3. Marketing Agencies Aren’t Responsible for Results: The myth here is that marketing agencies can blow through a clients’ money without respect to efficiency. Again, no, no, no. If a marketing agency ever drove their business down that kind of highway, they would be in a car crash as soon as they hit the interstate. Today’s metrics of measuring the success of an operation are far more progressive, complete, and comprehensive in reporting results than in the past. Simply do your research and check on the success of the marketing agency you are considering.

4. Marketing Is Only for Big Businesses: In the past, it was perceived that marketing agencies were only for large corporations and that you needed a lot of money to make an impact. Nowadays, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Marketing is for small businesses as well as big ones. The days of marketing agencies working with exclusively large budget clients has gone to the wayside. Agencies realized quickly that with success comes growth and with growth comes more marketing. Although radio, TV, and newspaper ads can be quite pricey, there are other ways, for a lower price, to get your message across. Being present on social media and blogging are just a few ways for a smaller business to get their message out to their customers. Small businesses need to embrace marketing now more than ever. It’s not always about the big bucks you throw into it –it’s the big ideas you take away.

As Don Draper once said, “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.”

There are many myths surrounding marketing agencies, much like the proverbial cloud of smoke. We are proud to set the story straight and change the conversation.


Plaid Swan Inc. is a female owned and operated marketing communications firm with multiple offices located in the Midwest. Looking to make your company’s blog stand out? Don’t have a blog, but want one? What’s a BLOG? Contact us today to see how we can bring your brand to a new stellar level!

 Plaid Swan: (563) 556-1633


-Haley Corkery │ Public Relations Specialist