A New Year’s Resolution: Re-Evaluate Your Ad Agency
When reflecting on your progress and reviewing your budget over the past year, don’t overlook your advertising agency. For home builders, evaluating your current advertising agency to determine if there is still a right fit should be one of your top 10 New Year’s business resolutions.
Darren Seys, principal of Deerfield Beach, Fla.-based Peak Seven Advertising, recommends a yearly review that addresses the following questions:
- How knowledgeable of the real estate/ home building industry is your agency?
It’s important that people within your agency “talk your talk” and understand your industry. Home building has and requires strategic marketing plans. The industry is far different from, for instance, automobile sales or the travel industry. While it’s not necessary for your agency to specialize only in real estate, having working knowledge of the home building industry is key.
- When was the last time you visited the agency?
Having your agency rep visit you is one thing. Visiting your agency is another thing, entirely. When you visit people who work on your account, you revitalize them when you stop by to say hello. Your visits can often lead to informal brainstorming sessions, and that could result in fresh and creative ideas.
- Are you having fun?
Of all the responsibilities on your plate, creative meetings with your advertising agency should be the ones you look forward to.
- Is there still good chemistry?
Relationships change over time. While an agency may have managed your account for years, in many ways your relationship with them is similar to a marriage — both parties have to work hard at it to keep it successful. While every ad agency has staff turnover, there also should be stability that keeps your account service creative and consistent.
- Do you still like their work?
Do you feel that the work you receive is still as good as when the agency was first retained? In most cases, the work should improve as the agency becomes more familiar with your goals and your product’s niche.
- Does the agency principal find time for you, or is the account managed by staff?
A company principal may offer a more knowledgeable perspective of the industry and the competitive situation. While it’s not always necessary to include the agency’s principal in your meetings, it is good to have principals attend occasionally because they may provide valuable insight and add to the enthusiasm of the office.
- Are the ads or creative efforts getting the needed results?
It’s not enough to have a creative ad or even an award-winning ad. While advertising is difficult to quantify, there should be measurable results. Good creative approaches should generate new customers, requests for information and traffic to your Web site.
- Does the agency take your budget into account when purchasing on your behalf?
One of the most valuable services an agency can offer is its ability to buy well. From printing to photography, you should feel that your money and exposure is being maximized. While media costs may not always be negotiable, an effective agency should be able to negotiate good placement and maintain consistent quality, both of which are important benefits of using an ad agency.
Once you have re-evaluated your advertising agency using these tips as a guide, enjoy 2006 knowing that you have selected the best creative team to meet your company’s goals.
Janis Ehlers is the founder and president of The Ehlers Group, Inc., a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based marketing and communications company that specializes real estate development and active adult communities throughout the country. For more information, she can be reached via e-mail, at 954-726-9228, or visit The Ehlers Group Web site.