How Does an Advertising Agency Work?

Unless you have worked for an advertising agency before, your knowledge of how they function might be a bit misconstrued. The way that advertising agencies are represented in movies, and television shows like Mad Men, are worlds away from the day-to-day operations of an advertising agency Austin. The pop culture perception of ad agencies seems to go one of two ways: Either they are rigid, bureaucratic environments where everyone is overwhelmed and overworked (and wearing a lot of grey) or they are super flexible and laid back places — where bosses opt for bean-bags instead of chairs.

Neither of these portrayals really hit the nail on the head though. Agencies do vary greatly in size and shape and work environment but the fundamentals are basically the same across the board. Here is a quick look at how a real advertising agency works:

Advertising Agencies Work With Multiple clients

A healthy advertising agency in Austin will work for multiple clients on multiple projects. But the real question is how does an agency gain their clients? A company or person will usually approach multiple agencies with an idea for a project and want to know how different agencies would approach it. After each agency presents their pitch, the company picks their favorite idea and a contract is drawn up. The basic outline of this contract explains the rate the client promises to pay, whether it be a retainer or hourly, in exchange for the deliverables the agency promises to provide. Many agencies will want a deposit from the client before they begin working on the project. Agencies can also gain clients through valuable connections. Networking is extremely important to the success of an agency that is still in the startup phase. Word of mouth can help a lot in directing different clients and companies to a specific agency which helps them build their portfolio.

Advertising Agencies Have Different Areas of Expertise

When it comes to advertising agencies, everything is problem and solution driven. Sure, a client might ask for an agency to help them sell out an event or promote a new product but what they really want is a solution to their problem. That is the primary service every agency offers, but that doesn’t mean every agency is the same. Advertising agencies in Austin have different areas of expertise. Some work with lifestyle brands while others work with tech companies or in the food industry. The types of problems and solutions will also vary greatly depending on the client’s business and the ad agency’s area of expertise; however the basic steps are more or less the same. Regardless of what industry an advertising agency specializes in, they need to stay-up-to-date on the latest marketing trends and patterns in order to survive.

Advertising Agencies Are More than Creative

While an advertising agency in Austin relies on their creative team for the actual components of the campaign — be it a commercial, billboard, or website — they need more than graphic designers and copywriters to function. While a larger agency may be able to have very defined departments, a smaller agency may have to have some cross-over. Regardless of how many roles an individual has to handle, every ad agency will need to oversee account services, account planning, creative, finance and accounts, media, online development, production, research, and human resources. Without all of these departments working simultaneously together, a campaign wouldn’t be able to make it from concept to finished product.

Advertising Agencies Outsource Work

Some advertising agencies choose to outsource their work, which is why a small agency can offer such a dynamic range of services, while others prefer to have their own in-house team. Most agencies fall somewhere in the middle — calling on the help of experts when their in-house team is unable to handle a specific task. If an agency primarily works with photographers or cinematographers, they may find it more beneficial to bring them on board full-time. But if an agency works with an illustrator once or twice a year, they may find it more cost effective to outsource this work to a freelancer. It’s important to understand who is handling your idea before signing a contract with an agency. There is nothing wrong with outsourcing work and a good advertising agency will be transparent about this practice.