Screwed By A Marketing Company? (Rant)

by A_solo_tripper. Posted on Sep 12, 2020    2    8

I/we have a product that we want to bring to market in the near future. I reached out to a potential person/company (Company A) that was in marketing to feel them out. I initially told them about our product, how it was in development, and we wanted to see how the market was for this particular. We wanted Company A to do some market research for the product.

The next day, Company A emailed their market research process:

  • Keywords
  • How people are searching for the products when ready to buy
  • Appropriate domains to choose that may improve our position in the market
  • Competitors
  • Etc

They provided the price or their service, timelines of the service. We really liked the process of this company, liked the communication with the rep, and liked the details included in the market research process. We were really looking forward to this research.

Unfortunately, our initial product hit some production snags. Due to that, we wanted to hold off on this product. I advised the marketing company that are going to change to a different product. They understood.

We asked them to do market research on the new product. They said sure! At this point, we talked about when the first payment would be made. They said they would start immediately, basically. Made the payment week before last. Waited about a week, checked in with the Company A's rep, and was advised the report was complete. I was somewhat taken aback because the research was finished earlier than anticipated. I believe that was conveyed through my email, and I was then told the report would be ready Monday.

While we are waiting, I am wondering what is in this report, as this was done fairly quickly. Finally get the report on Monday. Download the report. I look at the title of the report, and my heart sank. The title read "The Attitude Towards [My Product]". I thought, oh no. Then I thought, maybe it's just a misleading title, and there was going to be relevant information...


The report contained nothing much more than some studies done several years ago, in addition to a lot of fluff talk. For instance, if my product was a car: the first study showed that some people like cars, others buy cars based on safety, filler talk, filler talk, 2 (2013) some people don't like to buy cars, some sports guys have trouble with slow cars because...etc.

There was ZERO keyword research, Zero information about how people were searching, Zero information about competitors, and Little effort put into the name of the product and domain.

We were very dissatisfied with the research to say the least. We reached out to the company the next day, asking what research was done on buying habits, keyword searches, competitors, etc. They responded like we were speaking to the wrong company. They were wondering what we were talking about regarding competitors, keywords, etc. In my first response, I provided an example on how keywords and looking up potential gaps in the markets.

Their response was basically I need to pay them more, and give them more time if I want it done correctly. And what I was expecting wasn't in any of our communication. I'm thinking to myself "Am I in the twighlight zone?" I then responded with a screenshot of their market research process (Keywords, How people are searching... etc.) they first sent to me. I requested that information needs to be included in the report. As the information provided to us is pretty useless. There is nothing concrete contained in the report. There is not enough research on the market to even know where to start without throwing money at adwords. The only way they can continue is if they have one helluva copywriter on board. And even with that, this research doesn't even provide the demographics of my target audience.

I am waiting for a response from Company A.

Any thoughts?



Dude you got scammed.


Your not in a position to hire a company like that.

Just do the market research yourself. You clearly know what you are talking about.

Sounds like you are being lazy,

strap 1

Ah man, what a pain. Did you sign any kind of contract about the work undertaken? If so you might have a claim, again though, depends on what you paid for the service and if the legal route would be financially worth it.

Saruvat 1

Just to share, I've been through the same and my experience was what others have said earlier - fresh kids who believe they are gurus because they have heard of the term long tail keywords, know of the existence of Google Keyword Planner and know how many words can fit into an FB ad. I was brought in after we had signed them to basically manage, well, management's mess.

We got 100% of what we asked for with about 50% of the quality we expected and that was with a lot of pushback from the agency even though we had an ironclad contract with key deliverables and milestones. They didn't even add FB pixel or Google Analytics without whining and delaying. I suppose their business model was the "we're going to make you get in too deep with us and we're going to force upsell or cross sell you to death".

Depending on how your contract was structured I would either 1) push again nicley for what was agreed upon and 1a) state that you can't progess to the next work/payment milestone unless the current work is satisfactory or 1b) hint that further jobs/contracts could be possible depending on results, 2) let it go and play somewhat hardball on the next deliverables before payment or 3) do what you can to activate the opt-out clause, assuming you have one.

I'm sure you know the key learnings from this experience. 1 important thing I learned was that the WFH freelancers I worked with from Upwork were more dedicated and professional then the fancy agency with their lux coffee machines, iMacs for everyone and Japanese zen decor.

AnonJian 1

You're in the fake it til you make it zone. This is not at all surprising, On the other side of this the research should be conducted to determine what product to bring to market, before it is developed.

Let the buyer beware. Anyone can ask for examples of the service in question. If the company says "it's proprietary" then leave. If a portfolio has an example site, and you do to that URL and don't see that site, ask why -- from the client.

Anyone can exchange an email to detail what 'research' entails and their expectations in detail. And with the horrifically shoddy research done by online companies and founders, they'd better.

People will check out a babysitter and reviews for a restaurant. Those same people give the playground of Nigerian royalty a free pass.

aureliusthesun 2

LOL you probably hired a 16 year old kid pretending he has a company after watching a few Tai Lopez videos. There's a lot of companies out there fronting a legit professional business only to outsource the actual work for pennies and produce a bad product.

SafetyMan35 3

What was the dollar amount you paid? Something that you are looking for will take months to complete and is going to cost several thousand dollars.

Did you have a quote/proposal/ contract in writing? What did it say the deliverables were?

DIY_SMB_Marketing 3

Echo other thoughts asking about the price.

I would expect to pay from $20k-$500k for what you've outlined you're looking for. Stuff at the $20k end would probably be more for companies in the startup/SMB space, while the higher end would be more the for enterprise level clients.

If you paid anything less than $10k; what you described you got is probably what I would expect; sadly. If you paid more than $10k for it; either demand some kind of make-good or a refund.

Putrid-Excitement 9

my thinking is that a lot of people see youtube videos about how to start a marketing agency, and you are finding those people.