At some point, many business owners question if they should be using an advertising agency.
For some, it’s because they realize their time is more vital in growing the business itself than it is to evaluate the hundreds of advertising opportunities presented by 47 different media sales people. For others, the decision to look into advertising agencies is an internal question — “Do I have the understanding of how to best market this business in today’s changing marketplace?”
Regardless of how or why a business owner comes to consider an ad agency, here are a few things we consider important in choosing the right one:
- Find an agency with the mindset that fits your need. Some agencies are primarily media buyers, focused on getting cheaper rates on radio or TV (although this sometimes means running in programs or stations that don’t match best with your ideal customers.) Other agencies focus on branding and image-building, which are always important but sometimes not the primary need for small to medium sized businesses. Other agencies provide a more integrated approach, creating various “tangibles” that you need (a website, brochures, a TV commercial, point-of-sale signage, etc) with a mind not just to their continuity but to how they work together to bring clients to your company instead of a competitor’s.
- Measure prospective agencies’ interest and responses. Schedule an hour’s time with your top contenders — there shouldn’t be a charge. A few things to ask– will you work with the agency principals or with entry-level or junior account executives? How does that agency see their niche in the business marketplace? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Give a “case study” situation– something that would be found in your own business– and discuss their response as to how they’d handle that challenge.
Comfort, trust and accountability are vital in establishing a relationship with an advertising agency or marketing firm. Finding the right fit with one sets the stage for growth in your company and an increase in your market share.