Advertising is your company's mysterious, silent partner. At the heart of advertising's mystique is the advertising agency. In order to make the most of your relationship with your ad agency, there are a few things you need to know.
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#1: What does an advertising agency do?
The role of the advertising agency is not nearly as mystifying as it seems. Their job is simply to help you reach your goals by presenting your company to the public in the best possible light.
They accomplish this by helping you fine-tune your message and by laying out an advertising campaign that fits within your budget and marketing plan parameters.
That sounds easy, but it's not. The process requires them to gain a detailed understanding of your products, your customer base, and your company. Once they have done that, they will use that information to connect you with your customers.
Depending on the kinds of ads that are appropriate for your product and market, you can expect to see drafts of several different ads for your campaign. They might come in the form of storyboards (comic-strip style sketches that describe a TV commercial), scripts (for radio spots), or mock-ups (of print ads). Typically these will all support a central idea or concept for your campaign.
#2: What will the ad agency expect from you?
Apart from payment, there are certain things the ad agency will expect from you, the business owner. First and foremost, they will expect you to enter the process with an open mind. You know more about your company than anyone else. But keep in mind that one of the reasons you hire an ad agency is because you know your business a little too well, i.e. you may make assumptions about your product that aren't as obvious to someone outside the company. The ad agency is an objective voice. Listen to what they have to say.
Additionally, your ad agency will expect you to have a clear idea about what you want to accomplish in your advertising campaign. They will need to know about your target market and the sales goals you would like to achieve. Their ability to help you meet your goals will, in part, depend upon your ability to clearly communicate your goals to them.
#3: How will you know whether or not the campaign is working?
Sales are always the best measure of an ad campaign's effectiveness. But apart from sales, your ad agency may survey and interview your customer base to determine what's working and what's not.
Remember: Advertising is not an exact science. Public opinion is a fickle thing, and sometimes trial and error is what it takes to finally find an ad that works. However, by working closely with your ad agency, you can reduce the time it takes to nail down the right advertising campaign for your business.