It may be time to think about choosing an Ad Agency
Ad agencies have many capabilities and can help you grow your business. If the time is right you need to have you priorities established. Once set on goals and objectives, you can then ask how do I choose the right one?
Editors note: this is part 1 of a multiple-part series.
Let's start with a common scenario:
Let’s say you walk into a Ford dealership. A sales person comes up to you, says good morning.
“Hi” you say
“Hi!” the sales person responds, “so, how can I help you?”
“I’m here to buy a car”
“Great! I can help you do that, for sure” he says, “what model are you interested in?”
“I don’t know”
“No problem sir” he responds, “we have several lines… what budget did you have in mind?”
“I don’t know”
“Oh, OK, no problem” but now he sounds a bit deflated, “so… you looking to lease or buy?”
“I haven’t really thought about it,” you say
“Sure… no problem” the sales person says “so, do you want a car, a mini van, an SUV… four or two doors… gas, hybrid or electric…?”
“Well… I really don’t know” you answer
By now, two things have happened:
- The sales person likely believes you don't have your act together...he’s never going to tell you, of course, but he really does.
- The sales person will sell you anything he can. If he can avoid it, you will not walking out of that dealership without buying a car. Whether it is right for you or not. You’re buying one.
When I was very young and had my first agency, deRojas, Salup + Partners, we created the advertising for some six individual dealerships and two dealership organizations (Oldsmobile and Honda). And, yes, there are people who do walk into a dealership outlined in the scenario above.
A few people just honestly don’t know.
They have not done their basic homework to see what they can afford (payments + maintenance + cost of operations + insurance) and have not done their basic research (web) to see what there is at their price level. These get slaughtered.
Many of the people who walk into a dealership in that state think that it puts the sales person in a defensive position and will get them a better deal. Some of these people will have done their homework and they might walk away with the right car at the right price. But those who not have done their homework and will walk away unhappily, either with the wrong car, or the wrong price or both.
You’ve probably noticed the analogy between the auto buying scenario and choosing an agency right? This is a very strong parallel to choosing an agency, these people will have to live with their decision for many years.
After 30 years in the business, I’ve been on the winning –and losing—side of agency pitches literally hundreds of times. On the winning side, I’ve managed over $300 million in new business. On the losing side… some of them have really hurt. But one thing for certain, I’ve learned how to win pitches and, symmetrically, how an advertiser should go about choosing and negotiating with agency.
The small/medium-sized business and the ad agency search
I’ve managed over $300 million in new business. On the losing side… some of them have really hurt. But one thing for certain, I’ve learned how to win pitches and, symmetrically, how an advertiser should go about choosing and negotiating with agency.
If you are a small or medium sized business, an ad agency search becomes even more complex, because now you have three questions that large advertisers just don’t have: (1) when is it the right time to get an ad agency? (2) What should be the structure of the agency? And (3) what should be my budget?
So let’s address one of those three questions..
Next page: When is the right time to get an ad agency?
About the author
Marcelo Salup's 30+ years career in advertising covers a wide range of everything. A wide range of roles -he began his career on the creative side, won 2 Addies, changed to media, included strategic planning and consumer insight and has been an agency owner several times. A wide range of venues: Spain, Latin America, International and the U.S. A wide range of clients that go from automotive through banking, electronics, fast food, soft drinks and much more. His professional philosophy can be summed up in four words: “Only performance is real”. Today, he runs a successful strategic planning consulting, Iffective.Website