Selecting the Agency

Selecting the Agency

Selecting the Agency

There are some seven hundred advertising agencies in the United Kingdom. They vary enormously in size, in the scope of their operations and the degree of expertise which they can offer.

How does one set about selecting a suitable agency? The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising will provide a list of agencies with names and addresses. Most agencies obtain new clients by means of recommendations. Where a suitable introduction does not present itself, however, the ONLINE MARKETING Manager can choose his agency by assessing its results. This is probably the best approach. If one sees a series of advertisements which appeal and then makes direct contact with the agency concerned, one is likely to be in harmony with its creative personnel. Care should be taken, however, to ensure that the agency selected has some knowledge and experience of the market into which one's product is to be sold. Most agencies specialize and the approach they have developed successfully for one type of market or one class of products may not be suitable for others. Communication with the agency's personnel is facilitated when they have some related experience of the client's market and class of product. They are able to grasp the essentials of the subject better and a good rapport can be created quickly.

Another important consideration is the size of the agency in relation to the scope of the advertising campaign one has in mind. A small outfit may have insufficient resources at its command to handle adequately a large and intensive campaign; whereas a fairly modest advertising appropriation may not evoke sufficient interest for one of the leading agencies, the majority of whose clients spend many hundreds or thousands of pounds annually in their advertising budgets.

Finding the right agency is, therefore, never an easy task. Even when one has made a decision, it is an obvious precaution to limit the initial contract to a trial period only. This enables one to discover whether the two organizations can work together harmoniously, whether their combined talents will 'gel' effectively.

The time to bring in the agency is before one's ONLINE MARKETING plans have been finalized. So often companies define their objectives and set in train all their various ONLINE MARKETING forces before the agency is consulted. This is to lose the informed advice of the agency's specialists based upon accumulated experience in other products and in related markets. By the time they are brought on the scene the agency men find that their client has already committed himself to a particular line of approach and they have to try to create an advertising 'platform' within unnecessarily narrow parameters.

The agency's response to your initial overtures will probably be an invitation to what is known as a 'presentation'. Owing to the high degree of competition which exists among rival agencies for the advertising accounts of client companies, particularly in the consumer product field, 'presentations' have tended to become grandiose occasions. Some agencies will go to ridiculous lengths to win important accounts. On occasion, comparatively vast sums of money are expended in the form of entertaining of client personnel and the creation of a highly theatrical performance of the agency's past achievements and present qualifications aimed not merely to impress but, it would seem, to over-awe the visiting directors and ONLINE MARKETING personnel of the would-be client organization. The ONLINE MARKETING Manager should be on his guard and ensure that his ultimate decision is not coloured by a display of showmanship which might be more in keeping with the circus arena than a serious conference relating to the investment of his advertising appropriation.

Before an agency can make any sensible contribution to a client company's advertising programme, an effective rapport must be established between the staff of the two firms. On the agency side an 'account executive' is appointed, to liaise with the appropriate personnel within the client organization. He will attend to all matters of detail and introduce to the discussions the various creative and other specialist staff of the agency, as and when required.

Further reading - The Function of Cost Accounting