Advertising agencies have an array of creative talent and resources at their fingertips to successfully launch a new product or take market share away from the competition. Ad agencies have been the driving force behind successful advertising campaigns for products like GEICO insurance and Miller Lite beer. While ad agencies offer many benefits, they are not without certain disadvantages.
Hiring an advertising agency is an expense that some businesses cannot afford, especially during tough economic times. When you hire an ad agency, you're tapping into the expertise of copywriters, designers and creative directors, all of whom need to be compensated from the commission you pay. For many small businesses, an advertising agency is not an affordable option.
The ad agency may know toothpaste or iPods or microwaves, but it may know little or nothing about your company's product or industry. Given time, you may be able to educate the agency's people about what you do, but there is no guarantee that they will develop a true feel for your business. Consequently, you could end up wasting thousands of dollars on an ad campaign that misses the mark.
There is always the risk of a disconnect between what you hope to accomplish with the ad campaign and what the agency actually delivers. For the campaign to succeed, you must have a clear objective for what you're trying to accomplish. For example, if you're looking to increase market share by lowering your prices to attract new customers, you need to ensure that an ad campaign highlights your new pricing structure. But an unresponsive agency might offer a different and unsuitable approach.
If you are not regarded as a big client by the ad agency, it may not allocate its best resources to your project. If the agency picks up more big clients after you sign on, you may get pushed even farther down the totem pole. As a result, your project may be assigned to inexperienced staff members.
There also is a chance that the agency will take a "one size fits all" approach to your campaign and not take the time to be creative. For example, if the agency developed a successful campaign for a company or product that's similar to yours, or perhaps even did a similar campaign for one or your competitors, it may do the same approach with your product. As a result, the agency may not take into account any changes that have occurred in the marketplace, rendering your campaign obsolete.