Advertising agencies create, plan and handle promotions through a variety of forms of advertising for their clients. They are usually a business independent from their clients, providing an outside point of view to help businesses sell their products or services. Ad agencies can also handle marketing, branding strategies and sales ideas for their clients. Typically clients are businesses, corporations, non-profit organizations or government agencies. Some types of advertising agencies provide may be radio and television commercials, print advertising, brochures, logo designs, or campaigns which include all areas of the media.
Since the first advertising agency was established in England in 1786, this adjunct to businesses has been an integral part of processing, improving and promoting business throughout the world. The first American advertising agency wasn't far behind. It was begun in Philadelphia in 1850 by Volney B. Palmer who placed clients' advertising in a variety of newspapers.
Advertising agencies exist in all sizes: small, medium and large. Some are multi-national, multi-agency conglomerates. Creative agencies offer design in advertising branding and media buying. Some clients choose to take advantage only of the design aspect of an agency. Then they take their created logo, brochure or ad and run their own advertising campaign. Other clients leave all the responsibility for planning and initiating the strategic plan and function of the advertising campaign up to the agency they have hired.
Advertising agencies may specialize in one or more specific areas: medical, industrial, financial, direct-response, retail, theatrical and entertainment, investment, travel, etc. Agencies choose to specialize for many reasons. Often specializing limits the amount of knowledge and expertise necessary in a more general agency. Medical and industrial advertising are technical, requiring writers and artists having specific training in order to produce meaningful advertising copy and designs for the client. Such specialty ad agencies normally supply "full-service" advertising even adding peripheral services relating to their area of specialization.
Very large companies often have their own, in-house, advertising agency. Their own designers provide whatever advertising the company feels necessary at lower cost than they would have to pay an outside agency. This also has the advantage of allowing the company to have complete control over their whole advertising project.
Today, some agencies designate themselves as "interactive." These offer web design/development, search engine marketing, internet advertising/marketing, e-business/e-commerce consulting, and other online advertising services as well as traditional advertising services. Interactive agencies saw the advantages of internet advertising and promotion before traditional agencies embraced this aspect for their clients. Due to the wide range of services they offer, these agencies grew rapidly. Interactive agencies generate digital leads, brand development, marketing and communication strategies, multi-media campaigns, website design and development, content management services, overall data mining and ROI assessments.
Newer advertising companies provide reputation management utilizing social network sites. These agencies specialize in damage control when clients have disgruntled consumers. They can quickly employ social media sites to stem negative information or misinformation that might adversely affect the client's image.
Competition for jobs in advertising is keen due to the glamour attached to the industry. More people looking for work in this field apply for jobs than there are job openings. However, in the next ten years opportunities for employment in advertising will increase. Public relations managers' positions, graphic designers, writers and printers are expected to rise by 17%. The only areas in this field expected to drop in personnel numbers are product demonstrators, telemarketers, and in-house mail personnel.
The advertising industry is even more necessary today for major companies to function and sell their products than ever before. Skills in the areas needed to keep these agencies running will be needed in even greater numbers.
With the complexity of search engine optimization and the wide reach of social media, it's no wonder more companies are spending larger portions of their marketing dollars online. These companies are moving away from print and traditional media advertising as the online advertising trend continues to grow. A study by Deloitte Global Services predicted that soon, major marketers could dedicate half their budget or more solely to online marketing. This is fascinating considering the short period of time the Internet has been in our lives compared to print and electronic media.