Advertising is a key element of an organisation's promotional activities. The American Marketing Association defines advertising as "a paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods or services by an identified sponsor".
Firms may decide that they would like to employ an external firm to carry out advertising for them. The external firm is known as an advertising agency. Examples of international advertising agencies include WPP and Omnicom group.
Advertising Agency Examples
Abbot Mead Vickers (AMV) was set up in January 1977 in the UK. Today ( November 2014) AMV is the biggest agency in the UK, manages 92 brands and has a long list of industry awards. AMV is part of BBDO group which has 287 offices in 77 countries and 17200 employees. They work with clients from a large variety of industries including charities, cosmetics, food, education, financial services and telecoms. AMV's clients include Sainsburys, Homebase, Camelot, Guinness, Walkers and The Economist.
Advertising Agency Service Options
Advertising agencies offer:
- A full service where the agency handle all elements of a client's (the firm's) advertising and promotional campaigns
- Limited service where the client retains responsibility for promotional activity but instructs the advertising agency when they feel they need additional support i.e. as and when required.
Firms will pick the service that suits their budget and needs. A full service is likely to be expensive but ideal if a firm does not have the time or expertise to undertake promotional activities. A limited service is ideal when a firm has a limited budget but needs specialist help for some promotional activities.
Advertising Agency Tasks
Advertising agencies carry out a number of different tasks including
- Selecting the target audience
- Advertising design
- Advertising production
- Advertising channel (media) purchases
- Press releases
The table below explains what each of the advertising agency tasks listed above involves.
Selecting Your Advertising Agency
Although the choice of advertising agency will depend on your budget and advertising needs, it's important to select an agency that:
- understands your business and organisational culture as the agency will need to create promotional campaigns which reflect your business
- understands your target market and how to reach them.
- is experienced in the advertising media that you would like to use for example social media, guerilla marketing, TV.
During pre-contract meetings advertising agencies will often show samples of their work (case histories) to demonstrate their advertising expertise and understanding of the client's business.
Agreeing Objectives with Your advertising agency
Before firms sign a contract with an advertising agency they will need to agree objectives, deadlines and budgets. This will prevent future misunderstandings and disappointment. There should also be a media plan outlining how the advertising agency will meet marketing objectives.
Consumer Engagement in the Digital Age
Consumer engagement methods are constantly changing; it’s the advertising agency’s job to research these and use the information to enhance the efficacy of the services they provide.
Currently promotional campaigns use social media to provide targeted customers with the latest developments and marketing campaigns Its all about real time information and "acting in the moment"; advertising agencies should ensure they have the expertise to provide firms with the support needed to implement ongoing "real time" promotional activity.
The digital age combined with consumers becoming oblivious to traditional advertising has increased the need to stand out from the crowd; whether that's through viral marketing, flash sales or fun digital images and videos (that can be easily shared). Consumers love digital images and sharing personal moments hence the popularity of Instagram, Whatsapp and Snapchat but how do you turn this into a marketing opportunity? As relationship marketing through the internet and digital technologies is unfamiliar territory for many firms, they have created business opportunities for advertising agencies experienced in digital marketing.