How do I choose an advertising agency?
In order to choose an advertising agency, a good starting point is deciding on some basic criteria. Selecting the right advertising agency will have a huge impact on your success and so it really is worth the time and effort to find the best advertising agency for your business. Hopefully you’ll find one that is creative, collaborative and proactive, just like us.
Whatever the reason, choosing the right advertising agency can make all the difference to your success. An agency essentially functions as an extension of your team. You should be able to interact with them seamlessly and trust them completely. There is no right or wrong to the decision-making process but getting answers to the questions below will give you some basic criteria in order to streamline your search and save you time.
What do you want your advertising agency to do?
This might sound rather simplistic but lots of advertising agencies have experience and expertise in either advertising retail products to consumers (business-to-consumer or B2C) or selling products and services from one business to another (business-to-business or B2B). Others, like ourselves, deal with both and are developing more services, such as social media and digital, in-house, as more and more clients prefer the time and cost-saving efficiencies of an integrated approach to their marketing across different platforms.
What skills should an advertising agency have?
An advertising agency needs to have specialised knowledge and experience and be well-versed in advertising strategies that will work in your business arena and for your campaign objectives. They should also be aware of latest trends in the market and be able to adapt strategy accordingly.
They should also possess creative skills that will help your advertising perform well against your competitors and deliver your message to your target audience in a way that incentivises action, in order to create results.
A full-service, one-stop agency should have creative graphic designers, copywriters, website developers, photographers and videographers to bring your message to life and help you stand out from your competitors. You may also need help to create, manage, and post content on your social media, create blogs, or a multitude of other creative disciplines.
The best way to feel confident about any potential business relationship is to pay them a visit – when safe to do so. Ask them to walk you through their portfolio. Sit down and chat with the team that will be creating and developing for you. Otherwise, for all you know, the actual work could be being created elsewhere, even in another country, which could have costly implications further down the line.
What does an advertising agency cost?
The answer to this can vary widely. Nonetheless, get a straight answer to what the agency fees are and what they’re for before you commit. Large agencies usually attract higher calibre talent and have abundant resources. However, these all add up to large agency overheads. With smaller agencies, clients only pay for the services they use. Smaller agencies also often work with a stable of creative, talented external support partners, which keeps their overheads and prices down.
Depending on what type of contract is agreed, most advertising agencies will charge on a monthly invoice basis. This can either be on a project-by-project or retainer agreement and most agencies will have hourly rates for the various disciplines of their personnel. Agency specialisms however, often command a higher rate, so it may be worth your while to investigate agencies that provide such expertise as an external or freelance resource, which can often make it more cost-effective for all parties.
Have you determined your budget or do you need your agency to help you with this?
Businesses are often caught in a ‘catch-22’ situation when it comes to deciding on an advertising budget. Advertising agencies want to know the size of budget they have to work with, yet clients often dislike providing a figure, especially in a new client-agency relationship, until they can see how effectively their money is being spent. Clients will also be unaware of just how much needs to be spent on media and agency fees to achieve their goals.
Find a trustworthy advertising agency that has the knowledge and experience to work with a budget of any size and will be able to advise and create effective campaigns according to your business goals. Their advice on budget should also take into account audience numbers, message and likely outcomes. Cost-effective campaigns are also key. For example, if your goal is to communicate with a list of around 200 businesses, it may be just as cost-effective to call each one up individually and invite them out for a coffee and a chat.
Can an advertising agency save me money?
Choosing an experienced, industry-accredited advertising agency that can obtain significant discounted rates on media placements will save you money. Around 10 to 20% off of rate-card is not uncommon. Ad agencies are also free to choose and recommend all media platforms that market to a desired demographic and select those that offer the best deals. This competition between media houses for agency business is what lowers their advertising rates to agencies. As a result, agencies that place lots of media often pay much less than clients who go direct.
How will I know an advertising agency is using my budget wisely?
Historically, the image of an advertising agency was one of glamorous, trendy, image-conscious young executives, in fast cars with large expense accounts, charging vast sums just to allow someone’s foot in the door. In today’s reality, however, this is very far from the truth. Advertising agency business is now massively more competitive, with proven expertise available from much smaller teams, especially when it comes to online advertising. As a result, agencies, both large and small, need to constantly demonstrate care, quality and value with their clients’ budget.
These days, advertising agencies need to be accountable. Questions to ask, are whether the agency will create regular reports and monitor results against spend. Be sure also, to ask about their processes and how will they handle projects that have exceeded budget and deadline. ‘Trust’ and ‘transparency’ are the keywords for agencies that want to compete for and keep your business.
When all is said and done, you should seek out an advertising agency that you feel comfortable with. A proactive team that you can bounce ideas off and have some fun with. People who you are confident will provide the expertise, support and turnaround you want. An advertising agency is a very important business partner, so you need one that understands you, your business and your objectives.
Our clients have always found Red Thread Creative to be proactive, creative and cost-effective. If you’re looking for an advertising agency to help you, then please get in-touch by calling 0117 9074651 or email us at [email protected]. We’re a pretty friendly, accommodating bunch and an informal chat costs nothing. It could even be the start of something very special.