Ad agencies are an extremely important part of any company’s marketing strategy. In fact, this $500B industry is the tip of the spear of just about any effective marketing strategy.
Yes, in-house marketing departments do exist, but they are hardly likely to be able to execute all-inclusive marketing plans without the specialized expertise of an ad agency whose raison d’ etre happens to be the creation and disbursement of adverts, measuring results, and being held accountable for those results by their clients.
However, not all advertising agencies are created equal.
This is why you have to take certain points into consideration when finalising an ad agency for either a specific campaign or for a long-term relationship or both.
1. Know thy ad agency (and what it can and cannot do)
An ad agency can be a great help in turning a marketing campaign into a runaway success. However, what it cannot do is sell products on its own. So, if you are in the market to hire an agency to increase your sales, then you may well end up being on a never-ending journey. Blaming the agency alone for a slump in sales will be an injustice since that is not what it is supposed to so. The core purpose of the ad agency is to basically match the products you offer to the target audience you have identified and then deliver qualified leads to you.
If the target market (that you have defined yourself) is not the right one for your product there is no point in blaming the agency, per se. You will need to reconfigure your entire marketing plan and the agency is just a component of that overall plan.
2. The seminal importance of an RFP
An RFP is word for word, the single most important document you will draft when short listing or selecting your ideal ad agency. The request for proposal will enable the agencies bidding for your contract to be able to match their resources with your organizations’ corporate culture and thereby develop a firm grasp on your overall goals and objectives. And this is a two-way street right here, since you will also be able to see how their culture is able to mesh with yours, so that both your company and the ad agency that you hire can easily create a symbiotic relationship.
If you think that such symbiosis is not possible, then all you have to do is to simply pick up the next RFP and thereby save a lot of precious time.
3. The response time of the agency
This is also a very important point. Many issues that companies face is due to slow deliveries and poor communication. If the agency is too slow to respond to your pressing needs for a solution for an ad campaign, then you will simply have to let it go regardless of how great their work may be. The slower the response time, the more the delays you may have to face in the field and during a pressing campaign that is the last thing you want.
The above points are important before you finalize your agency and actually start working with them. Failure to take them into consideration can easily lead to a lot of grief in the long run.