Many brands these days are handling their marketing needs in-house–from public relations, to digital strategy, to media planning. However, relying on outside sources such as advertising or creative agencies is still necessary for other brands. While we wish it were as simple as Googling agencies in your area and selecting whichever one has the sleekest website, there is much more to finding the perfect agency partnership.
Choosing an agency is an important decision–so important that we’ve written about how to select an agency before. This time, the ANDERSON interns sat down with our president, Ted Anderson, for his perspective on the types of agencies you’ll find in your search and what sets ANDERSON apart from the rest.
How should companies prepare to bring an advertising agency into their fold?
Many companies come to us lacking a business plan. They will have one goal–increasing sales–but that’s just one component to success. A business plan should identify multiple areas of strengths and weaknesses, and particularly focus on the areas that aren’t doing well. Having knowledge of sales metrics, such as revenue by product line or location, is one way to narrow down which areas of the business need to be targeted.
It is up to agencies to take advantage of opportunities in order to provide solutions to key problems for businesses. However, this ultimately relies on businesses being transparent with agencies about any weaknesses or areas of concern.
What traits are essential for an agency partner?
At a minimum, an agency should possess the fundamental skill of identifying viable opportunities. When presented with data or research from a client, a good agency will use it to define a strategic plan. It turns out that successful advertising isn’t just creating something that looks cool. Winning campaigns come from agencies that utilize a well-thought out strategy as their guide for tackling measurable goals.
Finding the right agency is a lot like starting a new relationship; companies should always choose an agency that they have good chemistry with. By chemistry, we are talking about the way your two teams get along right off-the-bat. It would be great if there were “secret sauces” in advertising; however, it always comes down to how everyone works together. Companies should strive to find agencies that operate well internally, while having your company’s best interest at heart in order to find the relationship that will be the most productive.
What “red flags” should you be aware of in your search?
There are a few key indicators that an agency is unstable or a bad fit for a company. One major red flag is when an agency only has multiple small clients. There is nothing wrong with having a small client, but when an agency has what seems like an overabundance of them listed in their past work, it can indicate that they are spreading themselves too thin. Agencies like this, may not be the best equipped to provide your company with the time and attention needed.
Another indication that an agency might not be a good fit is when an agency has a high turnover rate. If the owner is the only person who has worked at the agency for more than a year, that typically indicates that employees don’t enjoy working there. We know that if employees don’t enjoy where they work, the agency itself will almost certainly not be a reliable partner for you.
What are the benefits of hiring a small agency versus a large agency?
Small agencies are typically more nimble, which allows for a more streamline process. With fewer layers of management, smaller agencies are able to provide internal approvals much faster than larger agencies. They also have fewer clients, meaning that you will be one of their greatest priorities. Additionally, a smaller agency is typically more cost-effective.
Some companies may choose larger agencies because of their additional in-house resources. Large agencies will correlatively have larger creative teams with more diversified talents. Large agencies are often a better fit for large organizations because they typically have similar cultures and management levels.
Consider hiring an agency the equivalent to hiring a new executive-level employee: this is a big investment. Make your decision count. A lot of agencies will say the exact same things about their capabilities. These days, agency cultures are becoming harder to distinguish from one shop to the next. Despite this, each agency is unique and should be carefully vetted before coming on as a partner to your company.
So what sets ANDERSON apart from other agencies?
There are three pillars to what makes us different:
We’re the “A” team. With over 90 years of combined experience on our team, we’re experts in our field. We work to make our communication superior and to keep our process transparent for every client. We anticipate clients’ needs and questions. You can count on ANDERSON to always go above and beyond.
Our process is buttoned up. ANDERSON’s highly-dedicated Account Services team is organized to the extreme, using various industry tools to ensure projects are completed accurately and efficiently. Across all teams, our efficiency saves time and money, both for us and for our clients. With ANDERSON, you can trust that there will be no surprises.
We are a go-to service provider. You want Alice Cooper in your commercial? We’ve got connections. You need to get an ad out with a quick turn-around? We’re on it. When our clients ask for something, we find a way. Every team member at ANDERSON couples their passion for people with their experience to get it done, whatever it may be. It’s that simple.
Want to learn more about our team and our processes as an agency? Check out our website or reach out to us directly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.