Why advertising agencies don’t believe in advertising?

Have you seen the latest television advertisements from all those advertising agencies? You know the ones, where they creatively promote themselves to build their agency brand?

Or those beautifully crafted full-page colour press advertisements designed to sell an agency’s services? Or the YouTube video that’s gone viral as it convinces marketing managers to hire the agency that produced it?

Of course you haven’t. They don’t exist. Most advertising agencies don’t believe advertising can build their brands. They use other techniques to acquire new customers.

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Wanna buy some used ads?

Agencies prefer to build their brands through word of mouth, publicity, events and direct marketing – mostly mail, telephone, referrals and trade articles. If you’re a marketing manager, you’ll have been on the receiving end of numerous cold-calls, “credentials” mailings or unsolicited show-reels and portfolios.

Ironically I’ve recently received a number of mailings promoting digital agencies and marketing automation software companies. Analogue technology to acquire customers for alleged digital marketing specialists – who’d have thought hey?

I’ve worked with multi-national agencies that have part-time telemarketers doing cold calling to arrange credentials presentations. Curiously most agencies don’t have sales managers or marketing managers – the advertising industry is one of the few B2B categories that doesn’t have these as full-time job functions.

Why do you think agencies don’t run ads to build their brands? The answer is simple – most agencies know that mass-media advertising isn’t always the best way to generate leads, let alone build a brand. So they don’t waste their money on brand advertising, despite what they encourage marketers to do.

So the logical question to ask is “if agencies don’t value traditional advertising to promote their own brand, how can we be sure they know what they’re doing with our money?

as long as it's not advertising our brand...
as long as it’s not advertising our agency

It’s a strange world we live in, this marketing world of ours…

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