Entrepreneurs, if you're looking for a website design or marketing firm, you're going to want to read this cautionary tale.
Although I suppose I first became an entrepreneur back in 2013 when I started Innovative Editing as a side job, I didn’t start running it as a full-time business until February 1, 2017.
Understanding that the entrepreneur’s road isn’t always easy, I did some serious research in the months leading up to my start date, taking mental stock of what I had and what I needed. And it wasn’t difficult to decide that I needed marketing help.
Pushy salespeople get on my nerves, and I don’t want to be what I can’t stand. So I end up going overboard in the opposite direction, which then depletes my sales potential.
That’s why I carefully researched a marketing company to handle that side of the business, asking around and looking up customer feedback whenever a name stood out. That led me to Marketing 360, which apparently used to be quite the reputable institution… before it was bought out by Madwire Media.
Unfortunately, I didn’t learn about that takeover until it was too late.
In the beginning of my experience with it, Madwire Media (disguised as Marketing 360) was exceptionally attentive, assigning me a marketing team that made sure to get to know me, my business, my business aspirations and what I wanted my new website to look like, which they said would be done in three to three and a half weeks.
After that, it mostly went downhill.
For starters, it took four and a half weeks to get my website up and running. Which, to me, is a week too long when they originally said one thing – and I was paying them $579 per month to keep their word.
Yet when they finally did unveil my new website, it was gorgeous! As such, I figured the time delay was just a glitch.
But it wasn’t. My main marketing representative, who otherwise seems like a nice guy, was very difficult to reach. There was at least one time where I emailed him, only to have to try calling four days later, only to have to wait another two days before I heard back about my inquiry.
That was frustrating. So too was the fact that, even though I had signed on with Marketing 360 back on January 9, all of February went by without me making a single dollar in profit from any efforts but my own.
March went by too without any traction. So I contacted them again and said I wanted to stop focusing on Google ads and try out Facebook ads instead. My marketing rep said he’d get right on that, which he didn’t seem to, only to show me one of the most depressing advertisements I’ve ever seen, complete with depressing pictures and forlorn music.
I told him I’d like to switch it up, and he did.
It was still really simplistic though. I could have done a more complex job on my own using a cheap service like Animoto.
Apparently, I should have, as that Marketing 360-designed marketing campaign did nothing either. (In full disclosure, there was a week and a half-long glitch on my end, as my Facebook controls weren’t set up properly.) Which led me to call them up at the four-month mark and express how I was concerned about my lack of results.
I was assured that this actually wasn’t abnormal. Though I wasn’t really putting very much money toward my advertising efforts, and would I want to step it up $200 a month?
I did. To no change. Again.
So, after trying to get a hold of him at least twice over the phone, I finally sent my marketing rep an email saying that I was going to ask for my money back.
Three business days later, when I got no response, I called up customer service and asked to speak to a manager, who had a very pleasant tone while she proceeded to not listen to a word I said. Without asking me any real questions about my experience, she informed me that I had gotten a beautiful website out of the deal, and that was enough.
No amount of reasoning would change her mind. The only thing I got from that conversation – and the following call I made to my marketing representative – was an offer a week later to sign an “I’ll never say anything bad about Marketing 360 or Madwire Media under pain of being sued for $10,000” contract in exchange for the last month of my original contract being voided.
I told them no, explaining how $579 couldn’t cover my complete and total silence. And then I never heard back from them after that. For that matter, they had already cancelled my contract without telling me, assuming I’d happily sign their agreement. So I’m sure I could sue them for breach of contract.
If it was worth it. Which I’m sure it isn’t.
Therefore, entrepreneurs, please take my advice and stay away from this company by any name. Marketing 360/Madwire Media is not to be trusted… unless you trust it to take more than $3,000 from you without caring if they give anything back.