Running a marketing and advertising agency in this digital age is not for the faint of heart.
The competition is extreme, and most clients look at marketing as an expense rather than an investment. Locally, I’m up against about 15 agencies and countless individual consultants who claim to be able to do it all. I don’t even consider national and international agencies as competition. I’m also up against a consistently high level of doubt and confusion from my audience.
Many business owners I talk to say they’re looking for a marketing director, but they end up with an individual consultant without the expertise to successfully implement a strategy.
Marketing directors know the ins and outs of the industry well enough to teach the subject and process, as well as create and manage the campaigns; however, they cannot do everything and will need specialists like graphic designer, web designer, copywriter, etc., etc. Individual consultants generally specialize in one or two areas of expertise, so small businesses should be cautious when hiring a consultant without a creative team to back them up.
My partner and I are account directors (same as marketing directors, but for an agency), so it’s always difficult to answer the question, “what do you do for a living?” Usually, I smile and respond with: “That depends on the day of the week.”
I love the spark of curiosity that comes from that statement. Monday and Wednesday are for client work, Tuesday is for Your Imprint work, and Thursday and Friday are for campaign scheduling, networking, and sales. Weekends are dedicated to catch-up work if I use one of the weekdays for emergency meetings.
These conversations usually lead to discussions about what my company does, in which case I touch on our 5 cornerstones.
Marketing & Advertising Agency Cornerstones
We’re positive, competitive, and we adapt quickly to changes in the industry. It’s why our agency has doubled in size over two years. It’s also why our two biggest clients from two separate industries and states are currently opening another location. The work we’ve done for them has brought new clients to our doorstep, three of whom are already starting to see growth (the are 3-6 months with us).
To attract loyal advocates to your brand, we strive for transparency and strong collaboration with clear, friendly, and candid communication about what’s working, what’s not, and what to do about it.
Everyone says that, but we define it as actively listening to the client and learning about their passions. We create SMART goals, develop a plan, implement a strategy, and track those results. Sometimes, the results are directly linked to a goal they had no idea how to put into words until we came along.
Effective & Efficient
To be effective in driving results, we put enormous effort into creating efficient processes that help us get the job done promptly. To be efficient, we work smarter by using effective management skills.
Websites, reviews, printing, SEO, social media, brand awareness, advertising & placement, e-commerce, email marketing, direct vs indirect marketing – who can keep up with it I all on their own? The real value of an agency is to be able to span multiple areas of marketing to help streamline the process and improve brand awareness and return on investment.
The Sixth Element – Creative Genius
We can’t forget about the genius. After all, this is a creative industry that thrives on innovative art across multiple mediums. The creative genius is not a cornerstone, but a job requirement. As professional artists who deal in results, we have to have some otherworldly intellectual support, and for most artists, that’s a Genius.
In ancient Rome, a Genius was the guiding spirit of a person, place, or family. It means “to bring into being, create, or produce.”
For us, creative genius is the ability to see the potential in a big-picture idea. It’s the skill of intuitively understanding passions and defining unique goals after a friendly conversation with a client. Genius means innovative originality. While it’s not necessary to reinvent the wheel for every little thing, it is necessary to have a Genius in your corner as a marketing and advertising artist.