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5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring Ad Counsel

1. Does Size Matter? Small clients can get lost in big ad agencies. Make sure there is a good fit between your company size and the agency’s size. Don’t assume bigger is better. Why? Read on…

2. Who Will Actually Service Your Account? If you’re a small fish in the agency’s pond, you risk getting shunted off to Johnny Junior Account Executive. At a smaller shop, you are more likely to have principals with more experience handling your business. Often times, agencies parade in the principals to win your business, but you may never see them again if you are one of their smallest accounts. Try to get an approximation of the budget ranges of their current clients, to see how you fit in.

3. Are They Qualified? Since there is no universal licensing or professional standards for advertising practitioners, you need to drill down to learn how much depth and bandwidth the agency has. Ask for the resumes of the principals, check their client references, review their work and determine
how much work they actually perform in-house and how much they outsource. Examine their skill sets and expertise; then decide whether they are one-dimensional or multi-dimensional enough to handle your marketing needs. For example, if they only handle print, outdoor and direct mail, and you
expect to use radio, television and internet, you may want to look elsewhere.

4. Do They Have A Proven Track Record of Results? Forget the wall full of awards! Campaigns that win contests don’t necessarily drive traffic and sales. You want to know that they can produce a better return on your ad-vertising investment than you could have achieved yourself. They should, in essence, make you money—not cost you money.

5. How Much Of Your Budget Goes to Creative vs. Media? If too many of your dollars are spent to produce your ad campaign, not enough will be devoted to deploying it. If your message doesn’t get enough exposure, no matter how well crafted it is and how beautifully it is presented, it simply will not produce the intended results. A good rule of thumb: at a minimum, 80% of your ad dollars should be invested in media—generally, no more than 20% should go to producing the ads.

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About Barry Cohen

Barry Cohen- has devised effective advertising & PR campaigns for clients all over the U.S. He has been an invited guest speaker at trade shows and conferences from coast to coast. He has written guest articles for trade and business journals in the U.S. and overseas, and has been featured in: Radio Ink, Radio Business…