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The Advertising Agency Work Process

By Expert Author: Stam Bett

A successful ad campaign results from an advertising agency’s diligence and efficiency in its operations, abilities developed through a systematic process. But before executing any such process, specific criteria must be met in order to evaluate a client’s product or service and develop the proper strategies for the ad campaign.

The specific criteria that the advertising agency must consider include:
• The properties of the client’s product/service. The ad agency must carefully analyze both the tangible and the intangible properties of the product or service, including its size, form, price, and competitive advantages, as well as consumers’ attitudes towards the product/service.
• The target audience. A consumer profile must be developed, including age group, gender, socioeconomic status, and geographic location.
• The purpose for selling the product/service. Why would people need or want the product or service?
• The advertising medium to be used. The ad agency should carefully determine where to put the ads: TV, print media, radio, websites, etc.
• The timeframe for advertising. This includes setting the duration of the campaign (days, weeks, months) and frequency of advertisements.

Once the advertising agency meets the criteria, the stage is set to implement the advertising plan. Because plans don’t always survive contact with reality, the agency’s team members must continually act to maintain the process. To this end, ad agencies follow this general sequence:
1. The Account Service team details the campaign objectives and establishes the role of the ad campaign in the client’s marketing strategy. After gathering this information, the Account Service team then develops the creative brief and disseminates it to other agency departments.
2. Strategic planning takes place. With the guidance of the criteria that were set prior to the advertising process, each team now sets its individual objectives. Research plays a vital role in planning by supplying each team with guiding information. In total, the strategic plan aims to develop a unique and compelling sales proposition for the client’s product or service.
3. The Media team of the advertising agency then develops a media buying plan by using the consumer profile to formulate a variety of media buying strategies and produce a media schedule for reaching the consumers. The media team also selects the appropriate medium based on the target audience’s lifestyle and consumption habits. After finalizing the media buying plan, the team sends it to the client for approval; once it’s approved, the media team then proceeds with media buying.
4. The Creative team then takes its turn, although in some cases, their part in the process occurs simultaneously with that of the Media team. After receiving instructions from the creative director and the Account Service team, the Creative team develops versions of the ads using their writers and graphic designers. The Creative team sends their work to the clients for evaluation. Sometimes, the ads are also evaluated by test consumers to determine if they will actually produce the desired results.
5. Once the ads are approved, the Production team steps in: TV spots are shot, print ads are printed, online content is published, and radio spots are recorded.
6. The Traffic Manager then sends the finalized advertisements to the appropriate medium and ensures that the ad campaign is executed according to the plan.

While a systematic process significantly contributes to the success of the campaign, tracking is ultimately necessary in order to evaluate the impact of the ad agency’s efforts.

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