Advertising agencies often tend to have somewhat of a bad reputation. You can almost see business owner’s noses crinkle up at the mere mention of the word. Usually it’s because of the massive expenses they expect to incur. They’d like to, but just can’t afford it. I kind of have a different take on the whole thing.
As an ad agency owner, I certainly understand the need to advertise your business. But at the same time, I strongly believe that the only real service most big, downtown ad agencies do is to pad their own bank accounts at the business owner’s expense. There are some huge, glaring, fundamental flaws with the downtown-style agency. Many of them seem more interested in their own “creative genius” than they do about increasing the sales of your business. And the prices they charge for basic services are absolutely obscene. If you’re a business owner, and you know you need to advertise your business, here’s what to look for when hiring an advertising agency.
1) Results-Oriented – Forget about ridiculous, image based advertising. Unless you’re a huge corporation with millions of dollars to waste, advertising solely to build image doesn’t make any sense. Look for an agency that creates results-oriented, direct response style ads that get your prospects to take action now. And if they start throwing the word “branding” around too much, run for the door and don’t look back. Building your brand through increased sales and repeat business is the way to go. Anyone who tells you otherwise isn’t really too concerned with helping your business.
2) Be Specific – Don’t let them try to be all things to all people in every ad they write for you. So many ads you see these days are just a big logo with some supposedly creative tag line. How are you supposed to sell anything with that? Remember that people are always most beak-promo interested in themselves. They don’t really care about how creative your advertising agency is. They care about how your product or service is going to benefit their life. Be specific and you’ll speak to what they really care about.
3) No CCC – If you encounter an ad agency that you can see focuses on being cute, clever and creative just for the sake of being cute, clever and creative…don’t sign with them. The only place they’ll end up leading you is to bankruptcy.
4) Hold Them Accountable – Here’s what I feel is the biggest problem with the downtown style ad agency. They are never held accountable for the decisions they make regarding your advertising. They were building your brand. They were creating an image. great advertising is never having to say you’re sorry…come on! Find an advertising agency that creates ads that can be tracked so you know what works and what doesn’t. Anything less than that is completely unacceptable.
If you can keep these tips in mind when it comes time to hire an ad agency for your business, you’ll be well on your way to successful ad campaigns and a successful business.
Cara McCarron is the Managing Director of Balance Advertising Solutions [http://balanceadvertisingsolutions.com] BAS offers their clients results-oriented, no B.S. marketing strategies designed to increase sales. Real results. No filler. Guaranteed.
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