Managing an Advertising Agency
The decades-long experience of companies located in different parts of the world demonstrates that effective advertising is crucial for making a business successful. Advertising generates awareness about new products and services and forms customers’ appropriate attitude towards a company and its goods; high-quality advertisements can make a company flourish while insufficient attention towards advertising also affects the sales figures. However, advertising is not just all about business; it requires using creative skills in order to find a unique strategy for each good. Therefore, in most cases, companies prefer to hire a competent advertising agency. Due to the creative nature of the services they provide, such firms have certain specifics of operation, and managers need to find specific approaches to organization of an agency’s activity (Wilson 2006). The article below provides some organizational and managerial tips for ad agencies.
A MANAGER’S MISSION
A manager of an advertising agency in the contemporary U.K. should maintain organizational flexibility but also be rigid about its conventional practices and codes of business. Ad agencies work under the conditions of cut-throat competition: they have to attract lucrative customers with a huge amount of creative potential and various PR tactics. Managing an ad agency requires strong knowledge of the industry and the ability to think outside the box, a team of dedicated and creative professionals and proper interaction with different companies. As a rule, one needs to have a degree in marketing or advertising to cope with this challenging but interesting job. De Cieri indicated that “most CEO’s of ad agencies are partners in the business, which gives them more decision making power” (2008).
Time is very valuable in any business, and advertising is not an exception. A manager’s task is to teach a team to use time management in order to meet deadlines. If there are any delays in the project, it is mandatory that a client should be informed in advance. It is very important to maintain the efficiency of the agency’s different departments by holding weekly meetings. An efficient manager also keeps track of the market and observes the strategies chosen by competing firms. Thus, as Kuhn marks, “one could adopt the twin method of joining a professional advertising organization and read advertising publications to develop new strategies to maximize profits” (2007).
A manager of a competitive advertising agency should not be apprehensive about firing employees who do not meet the requirements set by the company. It is a good idea to communicate their shortcomings in writing and offer them an action plan. Also, a manager should avoid shady business practices like shortchanging or overcharging a client for any advertising campaign: honesty in contracts will help build a company’s strong reputation (Barlow 2007).
A manager should be aware of how the team copes with each stage of a project it works on in order to detect the opportunities for growth and potential problems. Meeting employees in the informal environment – for example, during a lunch break – will eliminate communication al barriers and strengthen the team spirit within the agency. Like any other company, an ad agency is the most effective if the healthy work atmosphere is maintained (Roy 2008).
Bocj defines the way a goal should be formulated as follows, “The objective of a system is normally very specific and often can be expressed in a single sentence” (Bocj 2006). The goal is a prominent issue from the organizational point of view, as it sets the direction the whole team should follow in their work. A manager needs to act correspondingly to help the agency reach its goal. However, there is always a need to analyze the situation before setting a goal, as well as developing the strategy of reaching it. The illustration provided in Managing Organizational Information (Bocj 2006) indicates that competitive analysis, cash flow forecast and sales order invoice should be respectively based on strategic, tactical and operational mode in a transition process.
As a manager, one should familiarize the team with the agency’s mission statement and make sure they completely understand it. Besides, it proves to be effective to set goals to each employee so that he/she will direct his/her efforts appropriately.
PROMOTING THE AGENCY
A manager can use different kinds of marketing campaigns, for example, street marketing teams or guerilla marketing, which will make the representatives of the target segment come to the agency. An advertising agency should use different ways to tell about itself: websites, magazines, television, exhibitions, fairs, creative projects, etc. It is evident that advertising campaigns of an advertising agency should be of the highest quality and impress the potential clients with their creativity and effectiveness. To get low-cost advertising for your ad agency, you may contribute to community events where the public will be easily drawn in large numbers.
It is a manager’s responsibility to make sure that the agency’s website is updated with the information about every completed project, as this will help draw more customers. Mark the time needed to complete the project and its cost: this information will help your clients get realistic expectations about your services (Barney 2006).
Staying in touch with customers is also very important for forming their loyalty and maintaining the agency’s reputation. The most loyal clients can be invited for annual events organized by the agency (Zimmerman 2006).
In case you are just starting off, it might be a good idea to partner with local freelancers and production studios, which will result in lower cost of your services. Inviting professionals leads to the increase of the level of your projects but makes their cost higher. The same can be argued about hiring freelance copywriters and graphic designers for projects. A manager should analyze the agency’s clientele to understand which factor is crucial for them, cost or quality. Involving production studios will help to lower equipment and printing costs (Cameron & Green 2005).
On the other hand, a manager should remember that to form a creative team, it may be not necessary to hire experienced professionals. Is necessary to advance cooperation with gifted marketing and advertising students in such forms as offering internships, organizing trainings that involve your best specialists, etc. Being in touch with interesting candidates in local universities will help you always keep your team competitive and fill the vacancies very quickly (King 2006). Besides, it is a great idea to carry out trainings for those who are already employed: famous marketing specialists, copywriters and designers can be invited to participate in them (Jones 2009). Advertising at college festivals will also draw attention of young talents.
A good manager is able to find the appropriate balance between the interests of the whole company and those of a particular employee and a client. Managing an ad agency’s operation requires one to know well the situation in the advertising marketing, as well as effectively observe the work of the employees. Apart from promoting the agency, building a strong team and communicating with clients, a manager should review and approve all advertising projects and materials to be used, participate in inviting models or celebrities to endorse the products. It is also important to check all clauses of all advertising contracts. The world of advertising requires one to be creative, communicative and flexible. Punctuality is also one of the main conditions along with accuracy of content and clarity of form (Bocj 2006). Finally, a manager should develop healthy corporate relations with clients from different industries.
Barlow, J., 2007. Employee Software: Should You Use It? Journal of Corporate Accounting & Finance, 14(4), pp. 7-12.
Barney, J., 2006. Firm Resources and Sustained Competitive Advantage. Journal of Management, 17(4), pp. 99-120.
Bocj. K., 2006. Managing Organizational Information. Australia: Pearson Custom Publishing.
Cameron, E., & Green, F., 2005. Making Sense of Human Management: A Complete Guide to the Models, Tools & Techniques of Organizational Change. New York: Kogan Page Publishers.
De Cieri, H., 2008. Human Resource Management. New York: McGraw Hill.
Jones, N., 2009. Competing after Radical Technological Change: The Significance of Product Line Management Strategy. Strategic Management Journal, 34(13), pp. 1265-1287.
King, D., 2006. Changing Shape of Leadership. Sydney: Ebsco Publishing.
Kuhn, B., 2007. Prying Eyes: Privacy in the Twenty-first Century. London: Twenty-First Century Books.
Roy, R., 2008. Dynamics of Organizational Information. System Dynamics Review, 24(3), pp. 349-375.
Wilson, C., 2006. A Strategy of Change: Concepts and Controversies in the Management of Change. New York: Cengage Learning EMEA.
Zimmerman, D., 2006. On the Path of Success: Facts and Fictions. Auckland: IBL & Alliance Ltd.