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Advertising agencies: Role, Types and Functions

An advertising agency or advert agency is a service business dedicated to creating, planning, and handling advertising (and sometimes other forms of promotion) for its clients. An ad agency is independent from the client and provides an outside point of view to the effort of selling the client's products or services. An agency can also handle overall marketing and branding strategies and sales promotions for its clients.

Advertising Agency is just like a tailor. It creates the ads, plans how, when and where it should be delivered and hands it over to the client. Advertising agencies are mostly not dependent on any organizations.
These agencies take all the efforts for selling the product of the clients. They have a group of people expert in their particular fields, thus helping the companies or organizations to reach their target customer in an easy and simple way.

Role of Advertising Agencies

  1. Creating an advertise on the basis of information gathered about product
  2. Doing research on the company and the product and reactions of the customers.
  3. Planning for type of media to be used, when and where to be used, and for how much time to be used.
  4. Taking the feedbacks from the clients as well as the customers and then deciding the further line of action
All companies can do this work by themselves. They can make ads, print or advertise them on televisions or other media places; they can manage the accounts also. Then why do they need advertising agencies? The reasons behind hiring the advertising agencies by the companies are:
  • The agencies are expert in this field. They have a team of different people for different functions like copywriters, art directors, planners, etc.
  • The agencies make optimum use of these people, their experience and their knowledge.
  • They work with an objective and are very professionals.
  • Hiring them leads in saving the costs up to some extent.
There are basically 5 types of advertising agencies.
  1. Full service Agencies
    • Large size agencies.
    • Deals with all stages of advertisement.
    • Different expert people for different departments.
    • Starts work from gathering data and analyzing and ends on payment of bills to the media people.
  2. Interactive Agencies
    • Modernized modes of communication are used.
    • Uses online advertisements, sending personal messages on mobile phones, etc.
    • The ads produced are very interactive, having very new concepts, and very innovative.
  3. Creative Boutiques
    • Very creative and innovative ads.
    • No other function is performed other than creating actual ads.
    • Small sized agencies with their own copywriters, directors, and creative people.
  4. Media Buying Agencies
    • Buys place for advertise and sells it to the advertisers.
    • Sells time in which advertisement will be placed.
    • Schedules slots at different television channels and radio stations.
    • Finally supervises or checks whether the ad has been telecasted at opted time and place or not.
  5. In-House Agencies
    • As good as the full service agencies.
    • Big organization prefers these type of agencies which are in built and work only for them.
    • These agencies work as per the requirements of the organizations.

What Is the Role of an Advertising Agency?

by Chris Joseph, Demand Media
As part of an overall marketing strategy, some companies turn to an advertising agency to develop an advertising campaign. Ad agencies combine their creative and research expertise with the input of the client to develop a campaign that appeals to customers. When used properly, an ad agency can save you the time of creating your own campaign, can provide market and industry expertise, and can help you increase revenue or improve brand recognition.


Advertising agencies started in the late 1800s and were limited in scope. They did not create ads but simply served as a broker of advertising space in newspapers and magazines. Over time, agencies added creative services to increase revenue.


The main role of an advertising agency is to work with you to develop an advertising campaign. Advertising agencies are staffed with copywriters, art directors and media planners who will create your ads and place them in the appropriate media. The agency will work within the constraints of your advertising budget.

Expert Insight

Each advertising agency specialist is an expert in his area, so in many cases he can perform his particular function better than you might be able to. The copywriter is an expert at using words to persuade a customer to take action. The art director knows what appeals to customers on a visual basis and will incorporate her artistic skills into the ad's design. The media planner knows which type of media -- such as radio, television, newspapers, online or a combination -- is right for the message you are trying to convey and will negotiate to obtain the best possible rates.


When dealing with an advertising agency, you'll likely be working with an account executive who serves as a liaison between you and the agency's other personnel. When choosing an ad agency, it is important that you get to know the account executive you'll be working with so that you can develop a strong working relationship and communicate effectively. This will ensure that the agency's creative people will have a clear understanding of what you're trying to accomplish with your ad campaign.


While advertising agencies can help you reach your business goals, they do present potential drawbacks. Because of the high cost of hiring an agency, it may not be feasible for smaller businesses with limited resources. If an agency hasn't worked with your type of business before, it may not truly understand the nature of your business, which could lead to an ineffective campaign.

Functions of an Advertising Agency

Planning and Managing Advertising Tasks

 Advertising agency employees with various specializations come together to plan and execute advertising campaigns for their clients. In the campaign planning stage, account executives outline a budget, set goals and identify the prospective audience using market research. After initial planning stages, tasks are doled out to agency staff according to their expertise. Managerial staff provide supervision for the project, while creative and account services are handled separately. Graphic artists, copywriters, web designers, filmmakers and photographers handle the creative work for the campaign. Business administrators, buyers and account managers work the creative portions into the business plan. Together, the team ensures the message, finances and timeline remain in accordance with the goals of the campaign.

Creative Work

Advertising agencies employ a range of staff to provide services to their clients. Graphic designers, photographers and filmmakers create eye-catching art work to accompany the written elements of the campaign. Some designers work in new media, where they design and maintain Web pages, blogs and other forms of interactive, online outreach that drive traffic to an organization. Employees working an agency's account management divisions ensure the creative work remains consistent with the messages agreed upon by the clients and agency.


An advertising agency's primary goal is to establish or support strong branding for clients through their campaigns. Branding refers to the message an audience internalizes and associates with a company and its products or services. To assist companies with branding efforts, advertising agencies research consumers' preferences, then work to create memorable slogans, packaging, themes and accompanying advertising. When a brand is strong and recognizable, sales, support and credibility will often follow, which allows the agency and client to measure the effectiveness of their work.

Marketing and Public Relations

Some advertising agencies handle complimentary services that are related to advertising campaigns, such as marketing and public relations. When agencies handle public relations services, they manage the types of messages that pass between a company, its public and other parties, such as employees and the media. Advertising agencies also might handle other marketing tasks, such as research, events, networking, branding and online outreach. Advertising and marketing are interrelated, so it is common for advertising agencies to handle a variety of marketing tasks. 

Talent & Creative productions
  The basic function of an Ad Agency is providing talent. The creative efforts of the art director, the detailed analysis of the research director and the political understanding of the campaign director, are just a few examples of the many abilities of Ad Agency personal have to offer. A business organization or person will contract the services of an ad agency to help market a product. This function involves processing the information collected from the client and through research and designing communication material in the form of advertisements and other publicity material. This also includes planning creative strategies, copy or script writing, visualization, designing, layout, shooting of films, editing, giving music, etc. 

  •  The second function of an Ad agency is research. In order to distribute the message to the public successfully, the agency must first know all that it can about the product. One of the first jobs is to research the product and the company, one must learn, one possibly can about both. The research must even take one close to the heart of the firm's inner operations. Ad agencies use research as a tool to test consumer reactions to products and services. 
  • Distribution & Media planning  The third important function of an ad agency is distribution. Here you decide what type of message you will create for the company and what media will be most helpful in sending this message to the public. On the basis of the media habits (access and exposure) of the target audience, agency people prepare a media plan. This plan includes which media to be used, which part of the media to be used, when to place the ads and for how long to place the ads, etc. media planners keep track of the viewer ship, listener ship and readership of all kinds of media. 
  • Monitoring Feedback  By monitoring consumer feedback, a decision on whether to revise the message, the medium, the target audience or all of them can be made. Ad agencies are developing to reach the target audience. As information is the backbone of all advertising, to prepare ads, one requires information about the product, its competitors, the market situation and trends, information about the audiences (their likes and dislikes and media habits) also need to be collected. Some of the most effective advertising includes advertisement written in their native language. All of these specialized campaigns are creating new demands on agencies and are requiring new talents for people who work in advertising.

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