When I managed and owned my own companies, I asked marketing agencies the following:
1. "Can you send me some references ?" clients you worked with or represented so that I can ask them how their experience was?"
Today, when you ask this , you may be told :
" We would but we are held to client privacy" . This is a general blanket statement that really means that they are not doing so well with any of their clients and want to hide that from you. I believe in transparency. There are some clients that want to remain private but most are proud to have worked with us, thus happy to be a reference. Be careful of those companies that write fake reviews.
Some companies also only want to market themselves through you. These kinds of companies or individuals were something or belonged to a larger company in the past but now have used their contacts to catapult them into their own business. They then use their old contacts and followers to convince you that you will get a huge exposure to all their many contacts via Facebook and Instagram. This tactic is what I love to call " The has been shell game".
Marketing is about targeting YOUR audience, not theirs. Marketing is about YOU and getting people who are truly interested in your product and/or services. This is called organic growth.
THIS IS CALLED HONEST AND RIGHTEOUS MARKETING