A television commercial can make us laugh. A print ad can make us want to go out for dinner. Ads on the Internet can drive us to click or buy. Small, medium and global advertising agencies create the work and strategies behind all these ads. The roles and responsibilities of advertising agencies are quite extensive. At the end of the day, the goal is to drive sales for the advertisers and clients the ad agencies serve.
Advertising agencies are responsible for developing communications and branding strategies for their clients. Members of the ad agency account or client services department lead strategy development efforts. They incorporate their expertise to find strategic tactics and "ways in" to establish a brand platform their clients can own. This is often referred to as a unique selling proposition (USP). One example is the Wal-Mart communications strategy and platform: "Save Money. Live Better," developed by The Martin Agency. This strategy establishes and brands the big box retailer to "own" a leadership position in the discount retailer category.
Insights and Planning
Clients rely on advertising agencies to provide insights about consumers and users of products and services. Insights and planning departments are relatively new to the industry and are extensions of marketing research activities. Insights experts are responsible for tracking and monitoring consumer trends, attitudes and opinions, as well as how these factors impact a client's business. Planners work collaboratively with insights experts and often have interchangeable roles. Planners incorporate the insights to assist in selecting and defining target audiences, developing creative approaches, and determining the best media to use to execute the advertising strategy.
The creative works developed by advertising agency are the most publicly visible demonstration of advertising agency's roles and responsibilities. Clients of major national and global advertising agencies spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year on the ideas and works created by ad agency creative directors, copywriters and art directors. The agency creative teams are responsible for translating advertising strategies into attention-getting and sales-generating television commercials, print, outdoor and online advertising.