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A small business blog featuring tips to help entrepreneurs succeed in the small business world. Topics include family business, human resources, marketing, money, networking, operations, ownership, startup, taxes and technology.
Hiring an Ad Agency for Your Business
It’s not something that every small business can afford, but those who can should give an advertising agency a chance. However, you may feel overwhelmed by the process of hiring an ad agency to market your product/service, because it’s not a eni-meni-mini-mo type of decision.
Here are some tips for finding the right ad agency for your business:
Avoid Putting Limitations on Prospects
Don’t restrict your search to agencies who are only in your area. Then you’re limiting the possibility of finding the right ad agency for you. Many agencies are more than willing to communicate over long distances, and with today’s available technology, not everything will have to be done in a person-to-person meeting. Overnight mailings, telephones, meetings over broadband… there are a number of options available for getting the job done just as well as if your businesses were neighbors.
Don’t make predeterminations based on the size of the ad agency. The ad agency you hire does not have to be the same size as your business in order to provide what you need. So if you’re a smaller business, don’t disregard the larger ad agencies. They offer expertise. And if you’re a larger business, don’t disregard the smaller ad agencies. Remember, the smaller agencies are started by the best in the business who are giving it a go on their own.
Don’t limit prospects to those with experience in your particular industry. No advertising agency is going to know your industry as well as you do. You know the industry, and their expertise is in marketing (which you likely aren’t too much of an expert in yourself). Therefore, you should look at agencies with experiences that spans many different industries. This will give them the capacity for more expanded thinking, and help them to spark ideas for your company from other industries they assist.
What To Look For
Know what you need. What are the expectations you want met by the ad agency you hire? Have a list of what you want those expectations and the outcome of the ads to be. You need to know up front if an agency finds those expectations feasible or unrealistic. Additionally, mention the ads you personally like that you see or hear. This will give the agencies you interview an even better idea of what you’re looking for and what will work best for you.
Get a history and client list from the agencies you’re looking at. Knowing where the agency came from, how long they’ve been in business, and why they started in the first place will help you to see if you will be compatible. And knowing who their clients are will help you to determine just how successful they are at what they do.
Narrow your prospects to two or three and then watch them in action. Ask for case studies on other marketing strategies they’ve come up with for other clients. Find out what their process was for those clients, as it will likely be the same for you. And take an opportunity to go to their office and eves drop on their process. One of the most important things about a good ad agency is how they work and you can’t know how they work until you see them do it. If their work process is ineffective or they don’t communication well, those are things you don’t want to discover after the fact.
Mostly, however, you know the needs and desires for your company best. Whoever you feel can accomplish those goals will likely be the best candidate for the job. Trust your research and your instincts.
• BusinessWeek.com: How to Hire an Ad Agency
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