Why “Traditional” Digital Marketing Agencies Don’t Work Anymore

By Arsalan Saleem,

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Hey, my name is Sergey Izbash; I am the founder of Duck Your Agency, and below is not only my personal experience and world-view but also a view of multiple people I spoke with regarding this issue, who worked both for agencies and other brands and were in charge of marketing. Unless you are in the top management or an owner of some upscale and pretentious agency on Madison Avenue, you most likely will agree with some of my points here. 

Traditional digital marketing agencies don’t work anymore. I think we can use the word “traditional” here without quote marks since this industry has been around for more than a decade by now.

I worked for agencies on a full-time and contract basis and for brands as a digital marketing manager and observed clear patterns in relationships between marketing agencies and brands. Below are some of my observations.

Why Traditional Digital Marketing Agencies Absolutely Quacking Suck 

digital marketing agencies that focus on margins

  • Focus too much on maximizing their margins while paying little attention to clients’ accounts 
    • Traditional digital marketing agency owners want to maximize their margins, which inevitably reflects on client service.
    • Outsourcing work to less experienced staff/interns/freelancers in other countries is practiced to save money and increase those margins.
    • Even if an experienced digital marketing manager is assigned to your account, they probably juggle multiple clients and projects, so the actual time allocated to your accounts is minimal.

Let me put it this way; I saw one agency charging a client $12,000 a month retainer. Out of those $12,000, only about $2,000 were going to the marketers who worked on the client’s campaigns, and those marketers were on a strict micro-managing schedule, so they were able to spend just about one hour a day or less on the client’s account.

I felt sorry for that client specifically, because, for such an amount of money, they could either hire a very experienced digital marketing strategist (or two) themselves or hire a few professional contractors who would put 10x more hours into their accounts and provide them with much more valuable ideas and much better results.

  • Impressing prospective and active clients with shiny offices and other unnecessary expenses – it all adds up to clients’ retainers

Do they really need to pay $20K per month for that fancy office with an amazing view in the prime location in NYC? Why not to have remote marketing teams (at least partially) and save clients a few thousands per month on their retainers?

Do they really need to have a secretary/receptionist who brings coffee to client meetings and spend an extra $60K a year on that?

The list can be continued, but I am sure you got the point.



  • Constant micromanaging of marketers, unnecessary office bureaucracy, and team building activities nobody cares about – marketers are not happy = bad performance on clients’ campaigns. 
    • Unfortunately, micromanaging practice is still alive and well at many traditional digital marketing agencies. I witnessed even such a ducked-up form of micromanaging, like forcing all employees to fill out a daily journal when they would have to report EVERY SINGLE MINUTE of their time. I repeat EVERY SINGLE DUCKING MINUTE out of a 9-hour day.

And guess what, if you reported something wrong or not too accurate or like 5 minutes of your day was missing, they would come after you, and you would get in trouble. 

    • Office bureaucracy, like filling out unnecessary paperwork, journals (as mentioned above), and participating in unnecessary meetings that would take only 5 minutes instead of an hour if conducted in an online chat/email.
    • Team-building activities are a nightmare for introverted personality types and take time from a busy schedule.

You see, traditional digital marketing agency owners and managers couldn’t care less about their employees’ personalities, thinking everyone has the same personality type.

As an example, at one agency I witnessed management forcing employees to participate in team-building activities that involve constant interactions with their peers and management team, sometimes for the whole day (8-9 hours) non-stop. It can be a nightmare for some employees, and I doubt even the most extraverted and outgoing employees are willing to sacrifice so much personal time to those activities, unless they want to please their bosses.

All those practices are still well and alive in many traditional agencies, which makes employees extremely unhappy. In combination with a low pay rate and constant stress, marketers working for those traditional digital marketing agencies most likely won’t contribute 100% of their marketing talent to their clients’ accounts. The truth is, they simply don’t have enough time even if they were motivated enough to do so.

happy digital marketing duck boy

So, What’s The Solution?

I built Duck Your Agency to help bridge the gap between unhappy with their marketing results business owners/managers and marketers who had an unfortunate experience working for a traditional digital marketing agency.

With a unique checks and balances system, assigning top-level strategists to manage your account, constant audits of marketers that are not directly involved in your campaigns, we make both brands and marketers much more happy – and therefore provide any client with stellar, more cost-effective results.


Contact us and see how we can increase conversions for your business:


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Sergey Izbash (founder of Duck Your Agency)

With over eight years of digital marketing experience, Sergey decided to create Duck Your Agency to bridge the gap between unhappy business owners (decision-makers) and the digital marketing talents who wanted more flexibility and freedom to implement their ideas. Duck Your Agency is the first of its kind anti-marketing agency digital marketing agency. Since then, the results have been fantastic – Duck Your Agency clients receive the full agency experience, with even more attention to their accounts, less human errors in their campaigns, at a more affordable price range.