Sometimes large marketing agencies don’t work well for local small businesses.
“Terrible service! Canceled my service in December 2018, yet my card continued to be charged monthly. Have been waiting on a refund since January 2019 with repeated contact to representative and his “supervisor”, with no response or refund issued. They jump through hoops to secure your business, but could care less about professionalism when you are ready to get out or need them to do something. Definitely would not recommend them for your marketing needs.”
That’s a direct quote from a review left by a very unhappy customer of ReachLocal; a very large marketing agency.
I think you will find the following ReachLocal review article worthwhile. I touch on a few important things to think about and link to some actual reviews of their past clients.
Sometimes large marketing agencies don’t work well for local small businesses. Sometimes, it’s better for local small businesses to work with other small businesses. In this case, ReachLocal is an international organization. They span several countries including the U.S, Australia and parts of Europe. They are a very large corporation doing business with small businesses.
ReachLocal reviews tend to range quite a bit on the positive and negative spectrum. This is common with large agencies. Some people are just never satisfied and will leave bad reviews for very good companies.
With that said, really good marketing agencies tend to have a lot more positive reviews than negative. You can see a general positive pattern with their reviews.
In my opinion, the ReachLocal reviews tend to have an average to negative pattern. There are definitely positive reviews. But, I get an overall negative feeling when I take into account everything I read from multiple websites. There is a laundry list of ReachLocal complaints that need to be taken into consideration. I’ve listed links to them below.
You can check out their reviews on Yelp to make your own determination – https://www.yelp.com/biz/reachlocal-chicago
Here are some reviews from people who worked at ReachLocal – https://www.indeed.com/cmp/Reachlocal/reviews
When you read what ex-employees have to say, you can get good insight into the inner-workings of a company Below are some trends I see when I read these reviews:
- A good place to get your “feet wet” if you are just beginning your career.
- In the “eyes” of the lower-tiered employees, they enjoy their workmates, but have negative feelings towards upper management
- A good percentage of the positive reviews come from upper management and sales staff.
- Some see general disorganization, high turnover and some view the marketing tools as being outdated.
ReachLocal Complaints and “Ripoff” Reports
Note: Ripoff Report and complaint sites can be a haven for some people who simply want to be pissed off at a company for no good reason. It’s not uncommon for competitors to leave complaints on these sites as a means of sabotage.
If a company has a couple of complaints, then there might not be anything to it. If there is a pattern of negative reviews in the double digits, then that might be something to be concerned about.
Here’s a few websites listing ReachLocal complaints:
Here’s a sample of those ReachLocal reviews and complaints:
The mere fact that a company is listed on three different websites with a good deal of negative feedback is concerning. Most companies who give provide a great service, are transparent and do what they say they are going to do, are typically not listed on these websites. Instead, they mostly receive positive reviews. Perhaps they get a couple of complaints, but that is not enough to be concerned about.
I recommend doing further research if you see a company with a few complaints on Ripoff Report. If a company has a few complaints, but their Yelp and Google My Business reviews are largely positive, then you should feel much better about potentially doing business with them.
Review Trends For ReachLocal & Other Large Marketing Agencies
We have taken on clients who use to work with larger marketing agencies. Some have had great experiences, but chose to leave for legitimate reasons. Some clients have wanted to reduce costs. Others simply have been dissatisfied with the service they were getting. Some simply wanted to move in a new direction.
I get the sense (based on reviews I’ve read from customers and employees) that ReachLocal operates in a similar fashion as DexYP (formerly Dex Media). Feel free to read our DexYP review
Typical complaints I see with companies like ReachLocal and DexYP
- Lack of transparency – For those who use a PPC service with these companies, understanding your results can be difficult. The big issue with that involves understanding how much you pay for clicks and how much of your budget goes to management fees. Google has a clear policy about this. Companies who manage Google Ads for clients must provide the cost paid to Google (what you spend just on ads) and management fees. You can read it here
- Contract issues – You have to sign a contract with these companies. Getting out of these contract or getting a refund can be a difficult task. In my opinion, you shouldn’t have to sign a contract at all. If the company believes in what they deliver then they should have no need for a contract. Customers should be able to walk away whenever they want and not have to pay any future fees.
- Simply not delivering what they say they can – This is not uncommon for extremely large agencies. They are simply too large to provide the quality and care needed to effectively help small businesses grow through digital marketing. As a result, ReachLocal accumulates negative reviews and complaints. Read through some of the ReachLocal complaints and you’ll see this issue popup many times.
Back in 2014, The Wall Street Journal wrote an article covering ReachLocal and Yodle. In the article it stated that there were over 60 complaints to the Federal Trade Commission about ReachLocal.
Many of these complaints revolved around unfullfilled promises, inaccurate reporting, unwanted sales calls and overbilling. If you are considering doing business with ReachLocal I recommend that you read this. https://www.wsj.com/articles/small-businesses-search-in-vain-for-web-ad-help-1397693943
But, the article is from 2014?
Based on customer feedback you can read online, these trends appear to continue.
When Big Is Too Big
Large agencies tend to under-deliver when the following exists:
- No cohesive management structure in place.
- They lack proper processes and procedures.
- They misuse marketing tools and automation.
- Overly aggressive sales strategy.
From what I gather, ReachLocal experiences this, which leads to poor customer experiences.
The Sales Incentive Conundrum
One example of this involves the misaligned incentives of sales teams. These large agencies must have a constant stream of new clients in order to turn a profit. This requires a large sales staff. Most sales staffs are heavily incentivized with bonuses and commissions. They have a strong incentive to produce sales by any means necessary.
This can lead to sales people over-promising future results to prospective clients. Once the new client has signed the contract, someone else has to execute and perform. This person needs to deliver on what the sales rep promised. Often times, this can be difficult and unrealistic.
But, the sales rep may not care. They delivered a new client who is now contractually obligated to pay up for services.
Too Many People To Satisfy
Once a company goes public, things change big time. ReachLocal is a publicly traded company.
They have quarterly and annual reports to give to shareholders. It is very important that publicly traded company please these new shareholders. Shareholders want to see profits every quarter. They want to see year over year profit increases. They want to see stock prices go up.
Shareholders care most about profits and stock prices. Increased profits tends to lead to increased stock prices, which leads to more money for shareholders.
This creates a very strong incentive for companies like ReachLocal to keep those sales coming in. They don’t want to show their new shareholders a trend of declining sales. When that happens, people begin to get nervous. They dump stocks and that does not bode well for any corporation.
Often times, this results in customers getting pushed down in a corporation’s order of importance. I suspect this is what happens with ReachLocal.
Wrapping it up
The whole point of this article is to make sure you do your due diligence before signing on the dotted line with ReachLocal. I guarantee they have happy customers who are satisfied with their service. They may be able to give you the kind of service and performance you are looking for.
In my experience, there is reason to have some pause with very large marketing firms like ReachLocal. I’ve provided some “food for thought” on this. Hopefully you found this ReachLocal review worthwhile.