Quality Versus Price, Choosing an Ad Agency

It seems these days everyone is shopping around, and advertising dollars are no exception. As a small  to mid-size agency, we often compete with both the larger agencies and the two-man freelance operations. I would like to describe the pros and cons of working with larger and smaller (but not mid-range, which is a great place to be right now) agencies in this economy. Not all agencies will fall into these categories many small and large are quite reputable, but many others will. 

Smaller Advertising Agencies

They may be less expensive, but they are less experienced, stable, and consistent. Their portfolios are limited.

They can over-promise and under-deliver because they don’t have an established reputation in the community. 

They don’t have the ethics and non-compete understandings of a mid-to-large agency. Some smaller agencies will take a client’s email list or threaten to pull down a website over a minor disagreement. Others will use confidential information to sell themselves (and your information) to the competition, and why shouldn’t they? They don’t have a contract with you.

Their inexperience leads to poor quality and ultimately unusable work. Now the cost of the project is doubled or tripled by a good quality company having to begin from scratch along with tearing down the old site.

They are unable to support larger projects due to their cash flow and labor abilities.

Larger Agencies

Larger agencies charge larger prices. They have more staff, higher-end talent, and more expensive facilities.

Larger agencies have high-demand clients whose budgets keep their company in the green, and they often overlook the smaller clients.

Larger agencies put out a quality product, but the price and lead time are significantly higher. 

Larger agencies support larger egos and drama, be it with representatives, or  the talent you will be working with. 

Mid-sized Agencies

I know I am biased because we are a mid-sized agency, but I find we are a good fit for most people. Reasonable cost, high client service, and established reputation for consistently excellent work leading to proven increased sales for our clients.

Here is what you should look for when hiring an agency:

1. Good reputation with proven results. Ask to see case studies if you have to.

2. High client service. Ask for a reference, make sure their clients didn’t receive “Not Big Enough To Care For Treatment” or “Missing Rep Syndrome.”

3. Feel comfortable pricing an agency; however, remember you are not buying a washing machine. One company will not honor another’s price. One may sell a well-designed, scientifically engineered product, while another may very well have cobbled his together in his basement. They may look the same, but you will discover the difference when you turn them both on. 

Key Takeaway:

Remember your new ad campaign, website, SEO, jingle, social marketing, print/package design will be an investment. One which will support your business for many years to come. Think quality over cost, but be reasonable with your expectations. Happy Hunting and Have a Great Weekend!

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4 Responses to “Quality Versus Price, Choosing an Ad Agency”

  1. simon Says:

    How big is your agency?

    • asenmarketing Says:

      Our agency is a nine person operation. We have grossed from 1 to 3 million a year previously, although this year has not been as good for us.

  2. Marc Shaw Says:

    Hey, I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog!…..I”ll be checking in on a regularly now….Keep up the good work! 🙂

    – Marc Shaw

  3. Online Stock Trading Says:

    Hey, I found your blog while searching on Google. I have a blog on online stock trading, I’ll bookmark your site.

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