An advertising agency is an independent organization set up to render specialized services in advertising in particular and in marketing in general. Advertising agencies started as space brokers for the handling of the advertisements placed in newspapers. Over the years, the function of the agencies has changed. Their main job today is not to aid media but to serve advertisers.
An advertising agency or ad agency is a service business dedicated to creating, planning and handling advertising (and sometimes other forms of promotion) for its clients. An advertising agency is independent from the client and provides an outside point of view to the effort of selling the client’s products or services. An agency can also handle overall marketing and branding strategies and sales promotions for its clients. Typical ad agency clients include businesses and corporations, non-profit organizations and government agencies. Agencies may be hired to produce an advertising campaign .
Working with Advertising Agency
Some organization does not employ advertising agencies because they may be eligible for the media discount. Others feel that they can accomplish the advertising objectives more effectively than the agencies themselves. These marketers often employ their own advertising specialists. Various organizations use captive agencies that work primarily or solely for the organization.
Those organizations which do employ agencies are well-advised to establish a strong working relationship with them. It is especially important that the marketer fully inform the agency personnel of his marketing strategy and advertising objectives.
Functions of Advertising Agencies
The main functions of ad agencies include;
- Account Planning: Advertising agencies typically have account planners who work as the go-between for the client and the agent. They ensure that client needs are expressed to the research and creative teams. They also work to ensure that necessary information is transferred to the client regarding creative, research, competition or any of other factor that may somehow affect how the client’s product gets marketed to consumers. Account planning is where agencies start their initial interaction with clients.
- Marketing Research: Advertising agencies work with companies to establish the characteristics of their target markets through marketing research. Advertising agencies spend a substantial amount of time researching consumers to understand what they buy and what motivates them to buy.
- Market Research: Knowing the competition, account managers at advertising agencies research the environment, identify competitors, and research their marketing tactics. Through market research, advertising agencies also identify political, social, technological and economic factors that may affect a client’s campaign.
- Creativity: Advertising agencies are known for their creative output, which can include website design, advertising copy, magazine advertisements, and radio and television commercials. The medium of advertising often varies by campaign. Graphic designers, web designers, writers, editors and creative directors make up an advertising agency’s creative department.
- Selling Advertising Space: Advertising agencies don’t just create advertising pieces for clients; they also give clients insight as to which media will be most effective for their product, service, event or cause. In the process, they work to secure advertising placements for customers either online, in print, on television or on the radio. They negotiate terms and work to get clients the best deals to maximize their money and their reach.
Advantage of Using Advertising Agencies
- The marketer gains a number of benefits by employing agencies. An advertising agency generally has an invaluable experience in dealing with various advertising and marketing issues.
- The lessons which advertising agency learned in working with other clients are useful inputs for the marketer.
- An agency may employ specialists in the various areas of preparation and implementation of advertising plans and strategies.
- The personnel are not members of the marketer’s management team. They bring objective and unbiased viewpoints to the solution of advertising and other marketing problems.
- The discounts that the media offer to agencies are also available to advertisers. This is a strong stimulus to them to use an advertising agency, for the media cost is not much affected thereby.
- The company normally does not have as many types of specialists as a large or medium-sized advertising agency has because an advertising agency can spread the costs or its staff over many clients. It can do more for the same amount of money.
- The company can also get an objective, outside viewpoint from an agency, assuming that the agency representatives are not acting as “Yes man” in order to keep the advertiser’s account.
- A related point is that the company can benefit from the advertising agency’s experience with many other products and clients.
- Another advantage is that advertising agency feels a greater pressure than the company’s own department to produce effective results. The relations between an agency and a client are very easy to terminate; but it is difficult to get rid of an ineffective advertising department.
- The manner in which agencies are compensated, the use of an advertising agency may not cost the advertiser a single penny.
Selecting an Advertising Agency
While selecting an advertising agency, the importance of compatibility should be borne in mind. An agency takes a long time to grasp the problems and accumulate the facts that are necessary for the smooth functioning of a client.
Though this investment period is long, it pays rich dividends. Therefore, an agency should not be frequently changed.
Here are some points that can help the advertiser to choose an advertising agency ; and get the best out of an agency.
- The agency should be able to think independently on various problems, and not solve them by pre-conceived notions which it is unwilling to change.
- The agency should have experience in selling goods and ideas. It should be able to bring in more results than anticipated.
- The company should be financially sound and should be able to cover both local and national advertising campaigns.
- The size of the agency should not be seriously taken into account. A big agency is not necessarily a better than a small agency.
- The agency should not be one that hesitates to correct the advertiser if it feels that he is wrong.
- The agency should be able to use both research and brains to solve problems.
- An agency that plans to make a profit on an account should be chosen, rather than one that maintains that it will work on a no-profit-no-loss basis.