What Is an Advertising Agency?

February 1, 2017

 

Full-service advertising agency…

 

What exactly does that mean?

 

We get a lot of prospective clients and even current clients who don’t exactly understand what we or companies like us do.

 

The truth is that we do quite a lot.

 

When it comes to advertising or marketing, what an agency, firm or company calls itself is often not an accurate description of what they do but more of a tool. We may call ourselves an advertising agency, but that doesn’t mean we only do advertising.

 

Technically, marketing and advertising are two very different concepts, but when it comes to full-service advertising agencies like Octagon, we really represent a unique blend of the two.

 

Marketing

 

Although we are, in name, a full-service advertising agency, we also work within the larger umbrella of marketing, which is characterized mainly by The Four P’s or the marketing mix:

  • Product: the intangible or tangible good or service being provided to meet a customer’s need or demand

  • Price: how much the customer is going to pay for the product

  • Place: how the product gets to the customer

  • Promotion: all the strategies and tools used to communicate information about the product to the consumer

Essentially, The Four P’s help us to understand what we’re promoting and create a plan to promote it.

As an advertising agency, we deal primarily with the promotion aspect of the marketing mix. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t work or consult on the product, price and place components. Often, we borrow from those areas to better the promotion. It all depends on our client’s goals and what they are trying to achieve.

 

Advertising

 

Advertising falls under the promotion subheading of marketing.

 

Historically, the definition of advertising always included the word “paid” and was used to refer to paid media space. Think SuperBowl ads, billboards on the interstate, ads in a magazine or commercials on the radio. These are what is traditionally referred to as “advertising.”

 

Nowadays, most people who work in advertising will tell you it is more of an art than a science. This is because, today, advertising is more about breathing life into a brand while reaching consumers with your message. Paid media space is just one, small stroke on that larger canvas.

 

So, the word “advertising” has come to incorporate creativity and ideas from integrated marketing communications (IMC), which is why you will sometimes hear people use “advertising” and “marketing” interchangeably.

 

Integrated marketing communications (IMC) essentially combine traditional advertising with less traditional marketing communications and cover a large range of tactics and strategies including:

 

  • advertising

  • online

  • email

  • internal communication

  • direct marketing

  • events

  • public relations

  • social media

  • search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO)

  • product placement

  • guerilla

  • sales promotions (coupons, discounts, loyalty programs, samples, test drives, sweepstakes, contests, etc.)

  • sponsorships

  • promotional products

  • and more.

 

The possibilities for IMC are virtually endless and are limited only by the imagination of an advertising or marketing team. Don’t believe us? Just google “guerilla marketing,” and you’ll see what we mean. (The donut-eating Homer Simpson escalator is something special.)

 

Full-Service

 

Now that we understand advertising and marketing, it is easier to understand what we mean by full-service. A full-service advertising agency fulfills the functions of traditional “advertising” while incorporating ideas from IMC to develop strategies and ideas that achieve client objectives.

 

As a full-service advertising agency, we:

  • come up with creative ideas for ads.

  • conduct research that helps us develop strategies.

  • buy advertising space in television, radio, magazines, social media, etc.

  • create commercials and other videos.

  • design logos, brochures, posters, flyers, etc.

  • cultivate public relations opportunities.

  • manage events.

  • design and develop websites.

  • monitor social media pages.

  • write copy for all of the above.

  • assign team members to each client so their thoughts and needs are always heard.

 

Although marketing and advertising technically are two, different concepts, modern agencies and firms are blurring those traditional lines as they innovate and develop new, creative ideas for promoting brands and their products.

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