Traditional advertising agencies help clients to better target and reach customers with brand and other messaging. Market research begets branding-think, PR planning, advertising strategy and media buys. Creative development, campaign design, and production lead to ad placement.
Common channels include television, radio, print, and now search and social media. As nearly every media channel folds into the dashboard, search marketing firms have grown indigenous capabilities which overlap and even exceed many traditional advertising agency’s capabilities. This totally blurs the lines of who does what.
The best advertising agencies lead their clients through rigorous analytic evaluation and conversion tracking to quantify ongoing success and justify marketing investments, especially in these times of quasi-recession. Account executives, creative directors, art directors, designers, production artists, copywriters and keen technical minds craft the message and delivery mechanisms. PR buckaroos prognosticate about lighting up buzz pockets.
Gee, that sounds a lot like what search marketing firms do.
Advertising Agencies & Search Marketing
In the early 90’s “search” was nascent and a mostly technical endeavor. Born to military brainiac parents, technologies like Internet Relay Chat (IRC), newsgroups, email, and early web browsing facilitated individual connections online. Yahoo personals made it easy to get a date. Mid-decade, visionary companies were beginning to figure out the allure and promise of a networked planet. Advertising agencies had NO idea what to do.
IT fiefdoms (not marketing departments) ran the show. Advertising agencies’ first impressions of the Internet were that the medium was yet another place to post brochures and pretty branded pictures amidst snippy catch phrases. Most had a difficult time wrapping their arms around the basic premises of search. To many of us the circa 2001 ad agency Internet perspective seemed empirical, uninformed and akin to an ostrich burying it’s head in the sand.
Unfortunately the Internet’s economic clout grew at a somewhat slower rate than hype and actual revenue, resulting in the .com crash. Many inflated-IPO paper millionaires lost their mojo, even here in Duluth, Minnesota. Our local advertising agency friends were temporarily safe in their house of cards. Media buyers bought local television, radio, billboards and account executives gleefully called for expensive printed brochures. Things were about to change.
Wikipedia defines advertising agency as:
“a service business dedicated to creating, planning and handling advertising (and sometimes other forms of promotion) for its clients. An ad agency is independent from the client and provides an outside point of view to the effort of selling the client’s products or services. An agency can also handle overall marketing and branding strategies and sales promotions for its clients.”
Call It What It Is
Our tasks on behalf of clients include deep and absolute market research, strategic brand consulting, public relations, and media planning. Ad placements including video, radio, search engines, online yellow pages, newspapers and social channels following creative and campaign design.
We lead our clients though intensive evaluative analytics to justify the success of their investments. Our account execs’, designers, strategic thinkers and PR team proffer advertising messages highly targeted to individuals, communities, and mass markets.
Let’s call it what it is. The Other Word For Search Marketing is “Advertising Agency.”