We work with Ad Agencies for a living.
I felt it necessary to help people decide on how to select an ad agency. despite the militant nature of this blog that nails Ad Agencies right and left, in reality they are our bread and butter in terms of who our general client is defined.
We wanted to show you where we have problems working with Agencies, and where we don’t. This should serve as a guideline for others to at least know what you are getting into when you sign up with an ad agency or marketing agency, especially an Interactive Marketing Agency.
Generally speaking, most agencies are with good intentions with the goal to increase the clients business. The problem is the methods employed are detrimental to the client in many instances.
Ad Agencies are great at branding, getting traditional ads such as billboards and the overall message. Look and feel generally is the of the up most importance, hence the problem. As a Search Engine Optimization specialist we have serious problems marketing sites all in flash for example, at least when it comes to Google, Yahoo and MSN’s organic results. What I am trying to say is that we have made a career out of fixing what we call the ‘Ad Agency Disaster’ when the ad agency goes out and bills a client $100,000 to build a Flash based website. This shows a lack of planning on the Ad Agency’s side.
We always suggest asking the following questions when interviewing an ad agency.
1) What is your track record for marketing in my industry?
Is this a new area for the Agency or do you have experience in this area? Generally speaking there is no right or wrong answer to this. An Agency that is experienced in similar industries but not yours might work extra hard to gain experience in this area. However an experienced agency in your exact industry would have insider information due to past clients.
2) What are your expected results if given a free hand with my budget?
If they promise you the moon, walk away.
4) Do you have an inhouse staff for most of the services or do you outsource?
If the Agency is too ‘proud’ to outsource what they can’t do, and say they do everything inhouse, walk … no.. run away. No agency can do everything correctly and they should be using experts in the field. I can’t picture an Ad Agency that is great in newspaper ads building websites that are search engine optimized.
5) Will I have a dedicated account rep with plenty of experience?
If the Ad Agency bounces around with answers, then bounce to another agency. You need someone to build a relationship with there to get stuff done.
6) Where am I on your client list in terms of importance?
This is a great question, if you are on the bottom, expect the bottom level of team working your account. If you are on the top, then you might be with too small of an Agency that doesn’t have the resources your firm now requires.
7) Where does your Ad Agency website rank?
If they can’t rank their own site for terms you think they should rank for *other than their name*, then walk away. If the Ad Agency does not rank for their terms, how could they rank you for yours? This is an often overlooked area as generally clients don’t see this until 4 months or so after the website was redesigned.
- Roger Wehbe
President, Yooter InterActive Marketing