Find out how advertising agencies work, their pros and cons, and how they can help your business grow with this handy guide.
One of the biggest factors a brand has to take into consideration is their budget: what gets invested, what gets spent and most importantly what profit you make. Advertising plays a fundamental role in spending and revenue. After all, if your business doesn’t advertise, then it won’t bring in clients or customers. But advertising takes time and resources and both can be limited depending on your budget. A way to mitigate this is by using an advertising agency.
What does an advertising agency do?
Advertising agencies create, plan and handle the advertising needs of a business and can be responsible for the following tasks:
- Handling negotiations
- Creating tailored marketing campaigns
- Creative and content direction
- Market research
- Account management
An advertising agency will not only handle the administration but they will come up with content and fresh ideas as well as different strategies that can be worked on. In some cases, the advertising agency may even handle things like promotion and other marketing needs.
Examples of ad agencies
Some of the most well-known ad agencies in the world (with their parent groups in bold and their subsidiaries underneath) include:
- Quu Promote
- Grey, GroupM
- Hill+Knowlton Strategies
- DDB Worldwide
- TBWA Worldwide
- Saatchi & Saatchi
- Spark Foundry
- Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH)
- Interpublic Group
Advantages and disadvantages of using an ad agency
There are pros and cons to using an ad agency and it’s important to weigh up your options before enlisting an agency’s help for your marketing campaign.
- Ad agencies save time and work by contacting people to help with online/offline marketing and advertising
- The best ad agencies have a multitude of skills, connections, and experience to offer
- They can bring much more to the table and what you pay out in fees you can gain in other areas
- Specialisms are the key to success and the right agency will have the ones you need
- By going direct, you are avoiding agency fees and subsequently making that advertising budget stretch further
- They might be unfamiliar with your product or service
- You might not be their highest priority depending on their schedule, client base, and money you’re paying
- An agency’s vision might not match yours
Fundamentally, the more you pay for an advertising agency, the more likely you’ll find one that meets your expectations.
The client/agency relationship and prerogative
Working with an advertising agency means that you get to create a unique relationship where you have one goal in mind. To drive traffic and create sales opportunities for the business that is hiring the agency. The agency and business will come to an agreement in which certain goals and criteria is met. It is important that both the business and the advertising agency are on the same page when it comes to content creation and also different advertising methods that may be used.
In 2014, a survey by Rubin Postaer and Associates (RPA) into client/agency relationships showed that the importance of trust was the only survey question where agencies and clients scored the same. Tim Leake, SVP growth and innovation at RPA, turned the study results into a campaign of its own, dubbed “The Naked Truth”.
As part of that, he created four pillars of truth that affected trust ways to improve it:
- Considering we’re communication companies, we suck at communication
- We need to apply some creativity to what we mean by creativity
- Risk is risky
- We’re better at the art of ads than the art of business
And for the 4-point plan to increase trust in the client/agency relationship:
- Focus on interpersonal communication
- Work with clients to define and understand the evolving role of creativity
- Support clients in differentiating “risky” and “different”
- Practice the art of business as much as the art of advertising
What can advertising agencies do for businesses?
There are a lot of different ways that an advertising agency can benefit your business and they have more than just contacts. Going direct may enable you to save money but what you only have is your vision and opinion. An advertising agency will have a platonic approach to your goals, and be able to think outside of the box of the direction you might take and give you fresh insight into what you could advertise and how you could do it. Here are just some of the ways that an advertising agency could help your business.
An advertising agency can share their success stories and equally where things may not have gone the way they might have thought.
World-famous ad agency Ogilvy was founded in 1850 by Edmund Mather before becoming Ogilvy & Mather in 1964 after merging with a New York City agency that was founded in 1948 by David Ogilvy. That’s 170 years of history and experience from both sides of the Atlantic.
Experience is one thing that you as a business owner might not have as much of. You may know your business but to get your business seen by the right people takes a different kind of experience where an advertising agency could prove extremely useful.
2. Unique ideas
There is no denying that no matter what business you are in you are bound to find yourself in contention with others, and for many businesses, you could find yourself in a saturated market. This is where you need an advertising agency who can come up with unique ideas to help you bring your business to light and outshine others in your remit.
3. Follow trends
It is important for you as a business to understand advertising trends, what might work for you a few months ago, may not work for you right now. This is what you are essentially paying an advertising agency to do. They will understand fluctuating trends and keep your business on a track where you get the most out of your advertising budget.
4. Give crucial feedback
You need to have feedback and this can be distorted if you are focusing on too many opinions from within your establishment.
An advertising agency is impartial and therefore will provide honest feedback, critique and also share with you what has worked and what is good. Feedback is essential, after all, advertising and marketing can equate to a big portion of your expenditure, so you will want to make sure you get the most out of it.
5. Work with you and not against you
Finally, an advertising agency works with you and not against you. You become their client and subsequently, they will want to provide the service that they advertised to help your business stand out. Having impartial people only on your side that are experts in what they do can help you to feel more assured with what needs to be done.
As a business owner, there are many different plates to spin and areas of focus that you need to have and with advertising and marketing being such a broad area that requires a lot of attention, it is worth having the extra knowledge on your side.
When it comes to using an advertising agency for your business, you may still be thinking that you could do a better job yourself. But what you don’t have is the expert knowledge, and the time to understand the different approaches.
Although you may want to save on the agency fees, it can be extremely more cost-effective to outsource this side of your business and take advantage of the knowledge that they have. This is why so many businesses use advertising agencies these days instead of trying to navigate it themselves.
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