5 Ways to Save While Working with an Ad Agency

We’ve talked about why full-service ad firms are worth the investment, and a good agency will work hard to give you the best bang for your buck. But is there anything you can do to get more for every dollar?

As Balcom’s accounting manager, I watch the timesheets come in every day, and I see where the hours fall in a marketing budget. Some of it can’t be changed; great strategy and creative take time. But there are also opportunities in some projects to save hours without cutting quality.

For starters, Balcom continually adjusts our processes to get the most out of our hours. On your side, there may be some administrative efficiencies you can employ to save your organization money by saving your agency time. Here are our top five.

  1. Try to provide all information up front. An important detail learned too late can mean a lot of backtracking, so the more information you can give us up front, the better. Your agency contact can help you compile a list of needs, and even conduct interviews with other members of your team to gather more info. Include vector versions of your logo, as well as brand standards (if you don’t have brand standards, we can help you create some).
  2. Look for examples of creative and marketing you like. Sometimes it’s hard to articulate exactly what you’re looking for, which could lead to several rounds of drafts before your agency lands on one you love. You can help us understand your vision up front by providing examples of the look, tone and messaging you have in mind.
“An important detail learned too late can mean a lot of backtracking.”
  1. Prep before calls and meetings. Gather all your notes and information before any call or meeting with your agency. Make sure you have a list of your questions. This way we can cover a lot of information at once, instead of playing phone or email tag – which will save us both time. Your agency contact can help you come up with an agenda, if needed.
  2. Keep your internal review team to a minimum. The more people on your team who have to review your marketing project, the longer it takes to compile, communicate and make the changes. Decide up front the minimum number of people who need to see it. Also, know at which stage your boss will need to see the materials: only at the final stage, or from an early draft? Keep in mind that if your boss makes major changes to scope and messaging late in the process, it can cause a large increase in cost.
  3. Review materials right away. Make sure everyone who needs to approve the materials looks at them and responds in the time allotted by your agency. Try to send those revisions to your agency all at once, before the deadline. Waiting until later could mean your agency has to redo work, pay rush fees for production, and more. If there’s enough time, it may help to look at the materials, sleep on it and then look at them again before sending. This helps you determine your gut reaction to the work as well as your feelings over time.

Final tip: It’s OK to let the agency save YOU time. Your time is valuable, too, and sometimes it makes more sense to let your agency take care of something that you normally would – from building presentations to running large meetings. Ask if your agency offers those services. Balcom does.

Tags: How–to, Branding & Advertising

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