An advertising agency is a service organisation, commonly referred to as a creative agency that is dedicated to planning, designing, and executing advertisements to its clients. An advertising agency is a self-governed organisation of creative people who study intensively and prepare marketing and advertising plans. An advertising company can also handle the overall branding and marketing strategies and promotions for its clientele.
The prospective clients of the ad agency include private agencies, non-profit institutions, and businesses who hire the agency to produce television and radio ads, online commercials for mobile marketing.
It is of paramount importance that the advertising agency allows sufficient time to plan a successful ad campaign. One of the ideal ways to choose an ad agency is the same as the way you would choose an insurance company, a bank, or a hospital. If friends or fellow business owners have dealt with an ad agency and have pronounced satisfactory remarks, then it is worth further investigation.
Once you have zeroed in on an agency and have mutually agreed upon a budget and a timeline for the ad, the company will furnish a copy for approval. Laying a strong foundation will make way for a productive and a beneficial agreement.
Advertising agencies comprise of numerous departments that provide services to their clientele. Some departments work on acquiring and supporting clients while other works on promotion and advertisements, and some departments deal with finance by keeping track of the payments and other expenses.
The various departments of the advertising agency are as follows:
Art and Visualization Department
- An art director heads the Art and Visualization department, assisted by a team of artists, layout men, and visualizers.
- It develops visuals and layouts, billboards and calendars for advertisements.
- The art department is concerned with the overall look and feel of the advertisement from choosing the headline, text, size and type of the font to the pictures, visuals, logo, and the photographic treatment of the commercials with originality and extraordinary talent.
- It is crucial that the art and creative departments are closely knit.
- The art department and the creative department work together guided by the vice-president of creative services and devise the final copy of the advertisement.
- Some ad agencies outsource their artwork to freelance artists.
Media Planning and Purchase Department
- The fundamental function of the media planning and purchase department is to choose the best outlet or a suitable medium for advertising the products and services based on the budget, market competition, nature of the product, and client specifications.
- The department chooses the appropriate channels for advertisements through which the message is communicated to the targeted consumers.
- The media planning and buying department analyse the category of potential consumers for a particular product and then adopt a specific medium for advertising.
- This department is responsible for planning, scheduling, booking, and buying space in the media. The media planning involves research to analyse the number of viewers or readers of a particular ad medium.
- This department also supervises the execution of the advertisement.
Public Relations Department
- The public relations officer heads the public relations department in an ad agency.
- The growth and endurance of an advertising agency are taken care by the PR department by maintaining a healthy relationship between the agency, media, and its clientele.
- The PR department acts as a mediator between the agency, media, and its clients
- The PR department addresses and untangles the grievances of the clients.
- It also promotes goodwill and retains the reputation of the agency.
- A research director heads the research department.
- Research department measures the effectiveness of media and provides a systematic quantifiable basis for planning an advertisement.
- It comprises of seasoned executives from various disciplines who use some tools and methods of statistical modelling and sampling techniques of research and engage in a rigorous analysis to arrive at a conclusion.
- The success of the ad agency is conditioned on the success of its client’s ad campaign, and the success of the ad campaign depends on a good amount of research.
- The research team consists of investigators, analysts, statisticians and field workers.
- The production department is headed by the production manager.
- Once the advertisement copy is ready, the agency goes ahead with production. The primary function of the production department is to process and generate the final advertisement.
- The department stays in touch with the press, typographers and photoengravers, and congregates typographic designs, engraved photos, and illustration copies.
- It presents the final ad to the client and once approved by him, sends it to the media for release.
- Production department comes under creative services; not all ad agencies have a production unit, some agencies prefer outsourcing jobs related to production.
- The creative department taps the right words, appropriate visuals and everything that grabs the attention of the consumers and promotes sales.
- The creative team comprises of a creative director, copywriters, editors, artists, and web designers.
- Creating a concept is the first step in the production process, where a general theme or idea is formulated.
- The creative team also organizes focus groups and conducts surveys to obtain consumer feedback.
- Creative teams often experiment with their advertisements before releasing to ensure the effectiveness of the ads. For example, a small business house may issue ads in 3 of their ten markets and track the number of sales and leads created.
- The copy director heads this department who directs the functioning of it.
- The fundamental responsibility of this department is to generate an attractive ad copy. The ad copy is very significant and is called the heart of the ad because it conveys the ad message to its consumers without any deviation.
- The copy team includes copywriters and supervisors who use their creative skills while preparing an ad copy.
- The copy department is mostly the largest department of an advertising agency which consists of dedicated, qualified and experienced team members.
Accounting and Finance Department
- The accounting and finance department is headed by the vice-president of accounting services.
- The accounting team comprises of a chief financial officer, accounts receivable and payable managers, accounts supervisors and accounts executives.
- This department is responsible for billing, maintaining accounts, and collecting the payments due from its clients.
- It generates invoices and sends regular reminders to its clients for the collection of unpaid dues.
- The department books the expenses and issues payments to the vendors on a timely basis.
- The accounts department also deposits government dues on a timely basis in the authorised banks.
- This department takes care of all the routine matters related to accounting.
- The contact department is headed by the accounts executive.
- This department begets new clients and also supports and retains the existing ones, which is crucial for increasing the revenue, expansion, and growth of the agency.
- The contact department furnishes all the required information to its clients and acts as a negotiator between the agency and its clients.
- Effective contact department contributes to the quick growth of the agency.
- The office management in an ad agency functions under its management services.
- This department is responsible for hiring office staff, training and developing the newly joined team, issuing salaries and perks to the staff, extending welfare facilities, and filing and maintaining records of all the prime documents.
An advertising agency mostly manages all the above departments but the name and number of departments may differ from one company to another based on the capacity of its business, besides the functions of two or more departments may be consolidated and fulfilled by one department. The agency may also consider outsourcing specialists instead of creating all the departments.