When and How Should You Hire an Ad Agency?
- 9 Tipoffs That Should You Hire an Ad Agency
Are you in that “feast or famine” mode of small businesses? When you’re marketing you’re not working and making money, and when you’re working, you’re not marketing? So your incoming customer calls look like a mountain range – up and down?
Lots of people are nervous about hiring an ad agency – I know I am. It seems like a mysterious process, and it sounds expensive, especially for a small business. So perhaps you’re one of many who are trying to do it all yourself or in-house, and it’s not working as well as you like?
Here are some excellent tipoffs by Gary Dahl, author of Advertising For Dummies, to tell you when you’ve reached your limit:
It’s time to talk about an ad agency if you’re faced with some (or all) of these situations:
* You’re simply overwhelmed by the myriad details inherent in producing and placing your advertising.
* You no longer have the time, or the energy, to write and produce your advertising yourself.
* Creating and placing your advertising on a regular basis has become a job in itself.
* Your own creative efforts aren’t yielding the results you desire.
* You don’t know whether you’re spending your advertising budget as wisely as you could be.
* You’re eager to have creative professionals generate fresh, new ideas for your advertising.
* You want to put a team of highly trained specialists to work, with the common goal of growing your business.
* You’d welcome the creative, account service, and media buying expertise that an agency can provide.
* You want to do co-op advertising but don’t want to deal with the co-op hassle.
* And a LinkedIn Comment from Sally Davisson of Sally Advertising in Kansas City: Another trigger to make the switch to an agency: if you’re large enough that you have multiple products or services and one basic marketing concept won’t work to grow your business properly.
How You Hire an Ad Agency?
1. Know what you need. Do you only need a logo and a brochure for your startup, or do you need a fullscale marketing campaign? When you can be specific about what you want, they can be more honest about whether they can help you or not.
2. Identify your main customer demographics and find an ad agency that is already marketing to that demographic profile. (like “Females, married, ages 35-45″)
3. Is there an ad agency that does a good job for products or services similar to yours?
(There are more than 30,000 advertising agencies in the US. In order to narrow the list down, you’ll want to look for agencies that already have expertise either with your type of product/service OR experience in marketing to your demographic. You don’t want to pay them to educated themselves.)
3. Are you only marketing locally? Pick an agency that knows your area, which really pares the list down. Saves you money on media buying, too — watch the video below to learn more about this.
4. Are you mainly marketing via the web? Pick an ad agency that specializes in it.
5. Check their years in business and number of people working there. Several people can offer more creativity than just one or two, and experience is valuable – you want everything they do to work — not be an experiment.
6. Do they belong to any of the ad associations? This is how they learn and grow.
7. Allocate the time to talk to at least 3 or 4. Don’t expect them to do any free work for you, but you can expect to see a portfolio of work (sometimes on the web) that can give you an idea of their creativity and scope.
8. It’s the PEOPLE that you need to know about, too — who are they, what are their skills, and are they willing to take the time to understand what you need?
8. Price. Sometimes you have to pay more to get better people. Don’t let a cheap price keep you from excellence.
This is the absolutely best video I could find, and even though he is advertising himself, he is doing a great job of summing all this up – it’s worth watching:
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