Marketers today are often faced with a dizzying array of specialists. The labels range from PR agencies to digital agencies to promotion agencies, identity agencies, social media agencies, direct marketing agencies, video marketing agencies, integrated marketing agencies, communications consultants, idea consultants and, our favorite, “content provider.”
The trend toward specialization and the subsequent buzzword nomenclature seems endless. It has become fashionable to be labeled as anything but an advertising agency. Some have even suggested that the term “advertising agency” be mothballed.
If so, then how do we account for the 750 U.S. “advertising agencies,” members of the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As), that produce approximately 80% of the total advertising volume placed nationwide?
You may recall the hugely popular Mad Men show, which focused on the ad agency of the 60s. Long before the complex media world of today—before websites, banner ads and Facebook—advertising agencies were about helping their clients form new marketing strategies. They built brands through smart, differentiated creative platforms. These ad agencies of old created package designs, developed sales collateral, built promotions and events, and even consulted on market and ad research. And yes, they also created TV, print, direct, outdoor and other ads.
In short, they were “full service,” a concept that is once again being recognized as having great value. Marketers, particularly small to medium-sized ones, no longer want to manage multiple “agencies” that have trouble communicating with each other. Nor do they have time to “police” brand consistency between these different players, or to educate the many people involved in the various processes.
This is why full-service advertising agencies have survived and succeeded for so long. Rather than focus solely on one tactic—be it direct, digital, broadcast, or another form of marketing—the full service agency adapts to the needs of its clients and the times.
These agencies understand their clients’ business and work collaboratively with them to develop sound strategies and brand platforms. As part of that process, they build websites, create videos, plan and purchase highly targeted media, consult on research and testing and a great deal more. And they do it while making ads of all types, including digital, TV, print, direct, social media and so on.
Just as important, the smaller to medium-sized, full-service advertising agency is quite nimble, allowing it to meet a client’s needs on a quick turnaround basis. So the next time you need marketing of any type, consider asking a full-service advertising agency for help. They’re the one agency that understands how all these various elements work together to create a bigger, cohesive and more effective marketing solution.