The CEO, without consulting me, signed our company up for a contract with a B2B Agency in the United States. I learned of it in the December company staff meeting. Apparently I am set to start working with them in January and he’s arranged everything.
The CEO is also on holiday until January 2nd.
I will preface this story by saying that I don’t have a lot of faith in B2B Agencies. While I am sure there are a few good ones scattered here and there, the majority of the industry is… kind of a giant money grab. There, you’ve heard my bias. Now, on with the story.
This morning he sent an email to the gentleman who will be an account manager for us at the B2B Agency. He cc’ed me on this email so I both know the account manager’s name, and the business name now.
Since the CEO is off for the next two weeks, I thought I’d do a little bit of research to find out what he’s signed me up for in January.
My first issue – when I google the company, they don’t come up on the first page of google. They don’t even come up on the second page of google. This is a company that charges tens of thousands of dollars to tell you how to revamp your digital footprint, and all that’s listed on the front page of google when you search them is a street view of their supposed office address and a link to their Instagram and Facebook pages. Considering they claim to have been in business since 2009, how have they never invested in SEO?
My second issue – the Company website of this B2B agency is a shell. What does that mean? There’s a whole lot of flashy pictures and important buzzwords, but there’s not much else there. At all. For a company that specializes in digital marketing, social media and using your online footprint to generate leads, they haven’t seemed to invest anything into their own footprint.
My third issue – there are three different physical addresses listed for this company. On their Google business page they are listed as having an address that is a Dollarama store. On their Facebook page they provide an address that is a house in a different city. The third address, found on their company website, lists them as being in a somewhat famous building in the heart of the city. The building, famous for it’s only having four floors amidst skyscrapers that have 50+ floors, has a listing of tenants online. This B2B Agency is not in the listing of tenants. Okay, so I told myself that they moved from the house to the Dollarama location to the office building and just never bothered to update their addresses online. Then I told myself they only moved to the office building recently, so that’s why the tenant list hasn’t been updated. In my investigation, I called the building’s lobby and said that I was headed down their to visit the B2B agency and that I wasn’t sure where there was parking and I was wondering if they would provide any insights. The building lobby said ‘Who are you coming to see?’ I repeated the name of the company and the person said ‘I think you might have the wrong address’.
Okay, so… if it’s a company operating out of a house, there’s nothing wrong with that. Why are they lying and pretending to be in an office downtown, though?
My next issue – their shell of a website claims they specialize in B2B Marketing and Lead Generation through enhancing a companies digital footprint for strategic placement in ideal markets. (Marketing speak for ‘WE DO SOCIAL MEDIA’) This multi-million dollar B2B agency has five different Instagram pages, none of which have been updated since 2019. Oh, did I mention the Facebook page of their’s that I found the house address on hasn’t been updated since 2018? They also haven’t updated their Twitter since 2015. Weirdly, these Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages all manage to rank higher on Google than their company website. So, are they showing potential clients what to not do with their online footprint?
Their website claims that they have 200 employees, but their staff directory claims to have four.
Okay, so all of these coincidences have my spidey senses tingling that this is some sort of a sham, take your money and give you a crap already written report type of B2B agency. So, I kept digging.
The CEO, CFO, COO and CMM (the only four listed employees in the staff directory) all have private LinkedIn accounts. Okay, they want to keep their information private? I can understand that. Except, they literally sell a service that is… their expertise. So keeping yourself private on LinkedIn is… I don’t understand that motivation. Oddly, all four of them have have exactly 387 contacts on LinkedIn. No more, no less. 387 contacts.
Their website claims they have over 1,200 happy clients yet there is not one review of their company/services seemingly anywhere on the internet.
Their website claims they have worked with some big name brands like Nike and Samsung and one particular major market sports team in the United States. There’s nothing that says anything about the work they did, though. And when you google the two company names together – the B2B name and Nike, for example, NOTHING comes up. If Nike is your claim to fame for a client/agreement that you’ve had and done, how is there no trace of that business relationship anywhere on the internet accept for your partnership page?
My spidey senses are really tingling at this point in time.
I am not crazy, I promise. I just… one or two coincidences I would consider acceptable. Everything that I found today seems too much to be true. Could every last one of these oddities be a coincidence? And they all just happen to be true and look weird? Could I be overthinking this?
Our CEO is a really smart individual when it comes to a lot of things, but he’s openly admitted several times before that he knows next-to-nothing when it comes to marketing and promotion, and that’s one of the reasons he hired me. I fear he is walking us right into a… costly, poorly executed trap.