When you’re just starting a business you’re told that you need to do some promotion and that almost always means hiring an agency. There are many different types of agencies, but often, you’re likely to start with an advertising agency to get your company off the ground.
The first problem you run into is finding an agency that fits your needs and your budget. That’s where TDA can help. You can post your project for free on TDA and get tailored pitches from the world’s top digital agencies.
But then there’s the next problem. What exactly will that agency do with your project? How do you know that it will get done on time and on budget? When you hire an advertising agency, how do you know what you’re going to get? If you’re a newcomer you need to know what to expect. And with the world of marketing agencies and advertising changing all the time, even seasoned professionals who have worked with agencies in the past might need a brush up on how agencies work.
So we developed this quick and easy to understand primer on how advertising agencies generally handle projects so that you know what you’re getting when you hire an agency. Is this the way all agencies work? Of course not. This is not how all agencies work. This is just how advertising agencies work. And just as every startup and company is different, so too are all of the advertising agencies in the world. But there are some general terms and concepts that just about every advertising agency uses.
1. Account Set-Up
Congratulations, you’ve selected an agency. If you’ve posted a project on TDA and followed our advice for choosing your agency, we’re betting you’re happy with your choice and pretty excited about what comes next.
But what does come next? Are they just high-fiving and popping bottles of champagne at the agency after winning your account? Not likely, but if there is any celebrating going on at your agency, you should take it as a compliment and also as a good sign because that means you’re a pretty big deal of a client and they’re going to work extra hard to keep you happy.
The first thing most advertising agencies will do is set up your account. Since you are hiring the agency and the agency is spending that money on things like media buying as well as using that money to pay the staff, rent their office and cover other expenses, agencies require good accounting. So the first thing your agency will do with your project is put you into their system for tracking money coming into and going out of the agency.
2. Account Service
At this point, the account service (or client service) team gets things started. These are the people you’ll deal with most. Your main point of contact at the agency is from this department. Their job is to make sure that your project is completely thought out in a brief and goes from strategy to execution without a hitch. Some agencies have account planning teams that conduct research and do an in-depth analysis of your market to support your project, but those without a dedicated team of planners will have the account services team learn your business inside and out and understand your market so that they can advocate for you and your business as the project takes shape.
3. Creative Work
You’re probably wondering when you’ll get to see an advertisement from the agency you hired. Well, this is the stage when that happens. The account team briefs the creative department (graphic designers, writers, videographers, etc.) on the strategy for your advertisements. The creative department is then charged with conceiving your ad. This is the part of an advertising agency that is often depicted on TV and film. It’s not nearly as glamorous as those shows and movies tend to make it out to be, but this department is what most people picture when they picture an advertising agency.
4. Development & Production
After you get a look at the creative work and agree on a direction, your project will go into development or production. Web developers may be necessary for digital and interactive work like a promotional website or an app and just about every project requires the production team to bring together all the parts. Production people might bring in specialists like TV directors for TV ads or typographers for projects that require original typefaces. Even if an agency doesn’t have a separate development or production department, at this point in the process, your project will go to someone who is charged with producing it.
5. Media Buying
Buying ad space can be complicated. The markets are dynamic and pricing fluctuates. Unless you’re an experienced media buyer, it’s best to leave this part to the professionals. An agency with media buying capabilities can literally bring your project to life. After all, if you don’t put your messages in front of the people you want to promote to, you can’t really call them promotions, can you? The media buying department can be crucial in making sure your project is successful by placing your messages in front of not just anyone, but the right people.
So your project is complete and you’ve put it out into the world. The agency’s job is done, right? Not so fast. Most agencies include some level of evaluation of outcomes from your project in their services. Often handled by the account services department, this is the stage when you look back at the brief you began with and the goals you set out at the beginning to see if you have fallen short, achieved your goals, or surpassed them.
Hopefully, this quick tour through the life of your project at an advertising agency has helped you understand exactly what happens when you hire an advertising agency. Ready to get started finding your next agency? Click on the link below to create your TDA account for free and post your project today.