What Is a Traditional Ad Agency?
Traditional ad agencies specialize in working with traditional forms of media, such as television, radio, direct mail, billboards, and print. A traditional advertising approach is best for businesses that are trying to reach a local or regional audience. Locally, traditional media is still a prominent portion of the information delivery mix. Most businesses engaging in traditional advertising supplement their campaigns with other forms of advertising such as digital marketing and reputation management. These modes of advertising are designed to reach potential consumers through social media and online web presence.
What Are the Other Types of Advertising Agencies?
In addition to the traditional advertising agency, there are a number of other ad agency types that focus on specific advertising areas. Specialized advertising is perfect for businesses primarily interested only in a particular type of promotion. Digital ad agencies focus on promoting a business through online advertising. They specialize in tasks such as search engine optimization (SEO), email campaigns, social media marketing, and website development and design. Social media agencies focus efforts exclusively on the various available social media outlets. A public relations agency works to manage and improve the public image of a business and its employees. A branding agency is expert at developing, establishing, and promoting a brand through name development, logo design, and market research. A creative agency focuses on the graphic design of a brand and on the surrounding wording such as tag lines and specific promotional phrasing. Media buying agencies offer expertise in media buying and planning.
And a full-service ad agency, as the name implies, does it all!
Do You Really Need an Advertising Agency?
A business of any type and size can benefit from the expertise that an advertising agency can provide. With the benefit of working with a large number of different businesses, the combined industry knowledge that an ad agency can bring to the table can help you showcase your business in the best possible light. An ad agency gives your business access to all of the resources needed to make your ad campaigns cost-efficient and a success. Experienced in both making and placing ads, an ad agency will likely have local buying power through relationships with area media outlets.
Most agencies either have an in-house video production department. If not, the agency will have relationships with a variety of area production companies to provide a studio, to develop creative copy, and to handle audio and video production for creating radio ads and script to screen TV and online video commercials.
How to Choose an Advertising Agency
One method of choosing an advertising agency recommends the following five basic steps.
- Start by determining the current specific advertising needs of your business.
- Next, calculate your available advertising budget.
- Then decide if the agency’s location is a factor or do you place a higher value on the quality of their work and their reputation. Do you want an agency you can easily visit with in person as needed, or are you comfortable relying on phone calls, email, and videoconferencing to communicate in real-time?
- Next, narrow your search by matching the size of the agencies you are considering to the size of your business. If you have a large business, you are more likely to need the greater offering of services that a larger agency can provide. If yours is a small business, you might end up being better served by a smaller agency where you are more likely to get personalized attention.
- Finally arrange to visit the agencies you are considering, and also ask them for a few references from both former and current clients.
Another recommended approach for choosing an agency is to start by making a list of all available agencies. Then take time to pay attention to ads in various media over a period of time. Make a list of the ads that you like. Do a bit of research to find out which agencies made the ads you love and add any of those agencies to your list if they aren’t on it already. Then find out which agencies represent your competitors and eliminate those from your list. Next, arrange to meet personally with the head of each agency and with its creative director and make your final decision based on which one then seems the best fit.
Marketing Firm vs. Ad Agency
A company desiring to strategically and creatively connect with consumers can enlist the services of either a marketing firm or an advertising agency. It’s important to know the difference between the two to be able to decide as to which one will best accomplish your goals.
With a focus on product, price, place, and promotion, a marketing firm will utilize a variety of strategies such as research, branding, and positioning to plan and implement a successful campaign to promote your business. Advertising agencies are a specialized component of marketing, and they are experts at developing and creating specific promotional elements to create or increase awareness and to inform potential customers about the services or products your business has to offer.
Would a Full-Service Ad Agency Be a Better Choice?
If you are seeking end-to-end advertising and marketing solutions, the one-stop-shop that a full-service ad agency provides might be your best choice. One big advantage of hiring a full-service agency is the all-encompassing knowledge of the entire spectrum of promotional possibilities that it brings to the table. This allows an agency to make the best-informed decisions for its clients while considering current advertising trends. And a full-service agency can ensure that all promotions maintain consistent messaging across all platforms. This has high value with consumers who expect to see consistent messaging regardless of how and where it is delivered.
But remember, any full-service agency is only as good as its weakest department. For this reason, many full-service agencies outsource to specialty agencies for any skill sets and resources they lack in-house.
Even as digital advertising continues to grow, traditional advertising is a long way from dead and might still be your best choice. Current media trends continue to prove that there is no substitute for old school offline advertising. Television commercials, radio ads, outdoor billboards, print ads, and even direct mail all continue to be a valuable strategy used to deliver effective messages to billions of consumers.
Choosing the right advertising agency can often make a significant difference in properly establishing your brand and attracting new customers to your product or service.