Your Ad Agency Is Over Charging You
I am not speaking about all advertising agencies, but I bet I am speaking about yours…at least when it comes to internet marketing. How can I say such a thing with such conviction? Because I used to work for them.
Traditional mid-sized advertising agencies were always a viable alternative to large agencies and their high prices for small to mid-sized businesses. The little guys just couldn’t afford those big agencies, so they sought the help of smaller “boutique” ad agencies that had smaller staff and could focus on their campaigns more effectively. This worked until the world changed and people started using the internet to get information. Traditional advertising worked less and less effectively, yet cost more and more. Internet advertising was cheap by comparison and growing in it’s effectiveness. The problem is that traditional agencies didn’t understand it, didn’t have the staff to understand it, and were actually kind of offended that it was working because it diverted funds away from their core products of magazine ads, billboards, television commercials and direct mail. As more and more attention got focused on the internet, traditional agencies decided they wanted into this game, probably because the alternative was closing their doors. There is a huge problem with simply making a decision to “become an interactive agency.” They didn’t understand what they were doing.
As a business, chances are you are paying 50% more for your web design, your SEO and interactive marketing if an agency that does other forms of advertising is handling it. The same designers that are building your ads, campaigns and SEO are available directly to you….because they do not work for those agencies. The way ad agencies responded to the desire to become interactive and web savvy was not to hire staff, but instead enlist the services of freelancers, then put their name on the work and mark it up 50%. In reality, the freelancer probably knows more about the medium than the agency, and is guiding the process. How do I know this? Because it was my job at those traditional agencies. I created lists of freelancers that were appropriate for projects. I talked with clients about how our agency would succeed in online campaigns. I got projects because of the successes the agency had in the past (in traditional campaigns) and the name recognition of the agency. Then we gave the projects to freelancers to do the work. In the end, we put it into our portfolio, told the client we did it in house, and nobody knew any better. The clients never thought to question anything because the campaigns were successful. After all, they were created by highly skilled people who understand the medium and do quality work. The only thing the clients didn’t know is that the agency they were paying had hired another smaller agency to actually do the work…then marked the price up.
This is commonplace in the advertising world. Agencies hire companies like the one I own to produce results, then they claim they do it themselves. I have even had an agency print business cards with my name on them to make sure the potential client we were pitching didn’t know that they could have gone directly to me and my company. This is especially common with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as it is a long and labor intensive process that most agencies cannot staff for effectively. If you approach any mid-sized advertising agency in Nevada and ask them to do SEO for your website as part of your campaign, chances are they have called my company (or one like it) to handle it in the background.
We received an email this morning from an agency as the monthly newsletter. In the email we read the catch-phrases that we had trained them to say in order to seem like they knew what they were talking about. They also got a lot of crucial information incorrect that could easily harm a campaign. We were very happy that they did not name anyone from our company in the email. If you own a business and use the internet, then you need a qualified company handling the strategy and production in that campaign. Do yourself a favor and call a company that specializes in internet marketing. If you don’t, then the agency that you hire will….they just won’t tell you.
For more info: Raymond Santopietro is the President of Focus Internet Services