Marketing Guide

Ad agency as a service provider, middleman, consultant and advisor

Advertising agencies play important roles in the world of business. They are one of the primary movers for the marketing industry that provide different types of services to help their clients enhance their brand image or for products and services promotion purposes.

How should you perceive Ad agencies?

Under most circumstances, advertising agencies (more fondly known as ad agencies) provide an all-round service pertaining to advertising and promotions. In fact, even if they do not have such functions, clients will usually expect them to.

Different roles that agencies do

There are in general several hats that ad agencies wear in order to channel the most effective advertising campaigns for their clients. They are:

  • Service Provider
  • Middleman
  • Consultant
  • Advisor

As a service provider

Naturally, ad agencies offer services. In most cases, there are no tangible products that are offered by ad agencies. Hence, the most important role that an agency plays is to be a service provider. This is normally done and delivered to its clients who could be in various industries and scale.

The clients could be international Multinational Companies (MNCs), Government-Linked Companies (GLCs), government ministries and departments and small and medium businesses as well. When engaged, the ad agency has the exclusivity to be part of the advertising and promotions campaigns of its clients. This could be a specific product belonging to the client which could be partial or in its entirety.

As a Middleman

This is where the ad agency becomes a certain type of broker for its clients. As the agency that represents a company, it becomes the main mouthpiece when it comes to issues and matters pertaining to advertising and promotions.

The middleman is the one-stop centre that deals with every other party involved in the campaign. If the brand owner wants to put more emphasis on television and some on radio, the agency will need to liaise with the media owner and then revert back to its client. In fact, the agency needs to deal with everyone involved that include local councils, approval bodies, government departments and any others who are related.

As a consultant

Where necessary, the ad agency becomes the consultant in terms of everything that has to do with advertising for its client. The consultant’s role is to ensure that whatever is needed by the client in terms of strategy and creativity are met.

This differs from being an advisor because a consultant is a more professional role played by the agency. It can be in a long term or middle term basis and rarely are for ad-hoc periods. In this context, the agency will provide a professional approach about how to position a product, which target market to focus on and others.

Such services are usually charged with a professional rate. For instance, the client might need to know if a promotion might reach its target market. The agency would need to obtain research information or statistics before offering the right answers.

As an Advisor

As mentioned, the role of an advisor is not the same as consultant. The ad agency will give advice on ad-hoc matters as and when required. The client might need answers as to which media is best to advertise in, what creative to use and how to spend the budget as allocated.