Every smart business owner knows that marketing and advertising are essential to the success and growth of his company. But where do you start? What if you aren’t creative? Or probably more often, what if you just don’t have the time and energy it takes plan and implement a strategy? It’s challenging, and many times, not practical to spend this time away from the day-to-day operation of your business. Have no fear, these were the very reasons that advertising agencies were formed—to help pull everything together into cohesive, well-thought-out campaigns. Campaigns that are timely, properly executed and help you to reach your potential customers.
Let’s look at why an advertising agency might be the right choice for you.
YOUR time is valuable
As a business owner, you have to make the most of your time. You likely have many great ideas about how to reach potential customers and tell them what you do—after all you know your business better than anyone (here comes the “but”) but, is that the best use of your time? Television, radio, websites, social media, billboards, publications—the list goes on. Being well versed in the different ways to reach your target audiences, crafting an effective message and then implementing a campaign that yields results is a full-time job in and of itself. With an outside agency, you get a dedicated team of professionals, specialized in the industry, to handle all of this for you.
An OBJECTIVE viewpoint
As the idiom goes, “You cannot see the forest for the trees.” When you are involved in your business day in and day out, you may not always see things from the outside the way a customer would. Everything – from the way your receptionist greets visitors and callers, to the signage and landscape in front of your office, to brochures and television commercials – is a part of your collective communication strategy. An outside agency is able to provide a fresh, complete look at your business and then apply their knowledge and experience to develop an image that resonates throughout all facets of your business. This valuable insight contributes to the overall effectiveness of your advertising plan.
SPECIALIZED, PROFESSIONAL services
There are many business tasks (finances, legal, maintenance, etc.) you may have attempted to handle on your own, but eventually realized are best left to a professional. Advertising is no different. It’s a professional service that requires education, training and experience to be done efficiently and effectively. There are many tools of the trade, professional courtesies if you will, that agencies can utilize to your advantage. For example, when an agency makes media buys on your behalf, they aren’t just bringing your budget to the table with vendors; they likely have collective budgets from several accounts with which to negotiate. Add to that accountability, the sheer comfort of knowing your strategic plan is being executed and managed with adjustments and changes made as needed.
Hiring an advertising agency can be a great way to accomplish your business goals of establishing a consistent image or brand, creating awareness for your product or service and increasing sales. If you decide that hiring an outside advertising agency is the right option for you, meet with several firms. In addition to the credentials of the agency and its staff, it’s important that you are compatible so try to find the best fit for you and your company. The communication and relationship between you and your agency is key to building a lasting, successful partnership, which should be your ultimate goal.
QUESTIONS TO ASK when looking for an Agency
- What services does your agency offer? Will you be able to help in other aspects of marketing such as logo design, website, commercial production, social media, etc., as well as ad placement in various media?
- What is your fee structure? Be sure you have a clear picture, as there are several fee models practiced by advertising agencies.
- What is your relationship with the media outlets in the area?
- How do you communicate to me as the business owner? Who will be my point person should I have questions or concerns along the way?
- Can you show me various campaigns and examples of your past work?
- Do you currently, or have you in the past, represented clients in my industry?