How Does an Ad Agency Work?

We all have a peripheral knowledge about advertising and why it is important, but have you ever wondered about the working process of an ad agency. We have the answer for you in this article.
MarketingWit Staff
You have cursed as an advertisement interrupts as it is your favorite television show. You have also marveled at the sheer creativity or inventiveness on display in a brilliant advertisement. How does an advertising agency function? Advertising agencies provide clients with the service of promoting the products and services that they have an offer. They plan ad campaigns, create advertisements and handle every media portal that needs to be advertised on. Since the advertising agency is not an in-house department, it has the requisite objectivity required to sell a product. Advertising agencies also handle necessary strategies like branding, marketing, and sales promotions.
Advertising Agency: The Functioning
To understand what an ad agency does and how it works, it is important to understand what the main constituents of an ad agency are. The ad agency has several different departments that work together in order to create the perfect promotional tool for the client. Without all of these departments working together, it is absolutely difficult to create a campaign that will promote a service or a product well. Given below is a brief overview of the main departments of an ad agency which will help you understand how an ad agency works. Without a good knowledge of the departments that make up an ad agency, it is absolutely impossible to understand how it works.
Advertising Agency
Creative Services
The creative department can be considered the core center of any advertising agencies. A creative team comprises a copywriter and an art director. Both are responsible for coming up with creative ideas to create a campaign that would truly touch a nerve with the audience. The creative process can be often a long one with ideas being bounced around frequently before being finally approved. Creative teams work with outhouse design studios and production houses to execute the ideas.
Account Planning
The job of the account planning department and the client servicing department can often overlap. Account executives are the primary interface between the clients and the ad agency. They need to be aware of what the client needs, the market trends and the creative possibility. Account executives need to have a keen sense of marketing and a nose for the creative. The creative team and the account planning team spend a lot of time working together to create a campaign that fulfills target audience requirements and inventiveness.
Media Planning and Buying
Media planning is an extremely important department as it is this department that evaluates and decides which media option should be used to place a certain ad campaign. This department could be in-house but it could also be outsourced to a media agency that can conduct the necessary negotiations with large media houses. It is the responsibility of the media planning department to inform the creative team which platform they will be creating the ad for. As a media planner you will be expected to be a good researcher.
Client Servicing
Every advertising agency has one department that is in charge of liaising with the clients. They serve as consultants to the client for the different marketing techniques that they should use for their products. They provide clients with inputs on what the brand's strategy should be and how they should position themselves. The client servicing department is the go-between the client and the creative department helping the creative team understand the marketing objectives so that the correct message is conveyed.
Many ad agencies choose to outsource the work that they have to get done but some agencies have in-house production departments to create their ad campaigns. These departments have photographers, cinematographers, producers, etc., to create a campaign. Advertising agencies may also have a department that is known as traffic that helps in the regulation of work in the agency. This department works to reduce inefficiency in the agency and improve profitability. Each department in an ad agency works in close proximity with one another to perform the different functions that they are assigned. Together it is up to the different agencies to ensure that they understand the product that needs to be promoted. An ad agency needs to have a complete knowledge of the client's history with advertising and their various campaigns to ensure that continuity of brand positioning is maintained.
Most ad agencies are paid on a commission basis with the rates depending on the services provided to the client and the kind of campaign created. If a client has a long-term contract with an ad agency, then there may be a monthly retainer fee that is charged by the ad agency. While choosing an ad agency, this is something that you should keep in mind. The working of an ad agency may be unique to the agency in terms of functioning but the general structure of an ad agency has the departments that have been talked about before, and they work in tandem to create ad campaigns for the clients. This has hopefully helped you get a simple overview about the advertising world.