When The Agency Becomes The Client: Launching An In-House Advertising Campaign (Part One)

Vintage shoe molds sit on an old white bureau, bringing to mind the cobbler's kids who have no shoes. The accompanying article is about an agency's decision to launch an in-house advertising campaign.

Making the decision to launch a paid media campaign — for ourselves.

This is the first in a three-part series exploring our decision to launch a paid media campaign. The second installment talks about the process of media planning and media buying. The third installment describes the results of our in-house advertising campaign.

Planning advertising campaigns is our specialty here at Richardson Media Group. As owner and media director, I’ve purchased pretty much every paid media platform available, and the list of new digital options is growing every day! One thing I’ve never experienced? I’ve never sat in the client’s seat.

Media planning and media buying are at the core of our business. 

Developing strategic media plans for clients across a wide range of industries, including high tech, professional services, and education is at the heart of our agency. When necessary, we also provide search optimization services (SEO) and content marketing, to encourage increased traffic to our clients’ websites and enhance the user experience.

Advertising campaign management, while highly collaborative by nature, leans heavily on the expertise of the media planner. It is the planner who lays out the strategic road map, directs the creative and web teams on campaign specifications and production timelines, and pulls the necessary strings to fulfill a myriad range of marketing objectives set by the client. Client goals may include boosting sales, driving leads, and raising awareness of a brand or service in the marketplace.

More and more often these days, media planners are tasked with tackling a mix of awareness and conversion goals in one fell swoop! To adequately manage client expectations and assure successful campaign outcomes, we ask smart questions, listen carefully, and determine the best solutions based on our experience and first-hand understanding of platform performance and audience delivery. We build the plan and once it’s approved we prepare paperwork, offer direction on ad deliverable production, connect with vendors, manage plan implementation, write and edit copy, and continually optimize the media tactics all the way through — focusing our collective energy and talent on achieving results.

Bringing your expertise to bear on your own company is challenging. 

I’ve always been curious about what it would feel like to turn the tables and position my company on the receiving end of an ad campaign. I’d like to gain a new perspective on the work we do and get a sense of what it feels like to be the client. What if the process of ad campaign set up and implementation is directed towards my firm vs. the other way around?

Initially, I conjure up plenty of reasons not to do it.

To start, there’s the expense. Smaller media agencies like mine don’t typically advertise themselves, at least not that frequently. Most firms gain the lion’s share of their new business from referrals and word of mouth. I work hard to build my professional network for that reason. Do I really need to advertise? I also should consider whether I have the time to participate in this experiment? I’m already very busy servicing our existing clients along with the aforementioned new business prospecting. No one understands better than I do how much time goes into the media planning process than I do! Can I afford the necessary investment in both dollars and energy to do this the right way?

On top of those excuses, there is the fear of the unknown. While I trust our well-oiled internal process and believe that the mechanics of advertising would serve us well, I’m not keen on taking my hand off the steering wheel to let anyone else drive my company’s brand exposure. Not for one minute!

Three reasons I decide to launch an advertising campaign. 

Despite all of my hesitations, I decide to go forward. Here is my rationale:

  1. The timing is right. We moved up to Portsmouth, NH, late last summer. Relocating gives us a fresh opportunity to establish ourselves as a strategic media planning and buying agency in a new city and throughout the Boston to Portland corridor.
  2. Everyone says they are different, but we really are! We stand apart from our competition on many levels. First and foremost is our depth of experience creating multi-platform media plans. Many agencies claim a digital specialization. We demonstrate our expertise blending digital and traditional media platforms every day.
  3. We’ve worked hard to optimize our website and it shows. Another point of differentiation worth sharing is the sheer amount of company-created content published on our site. I encourage readers to take a few minutes to check out the rest of our blog. You’ll notice the content is quite robust, covering a broad collection of industry topics and personal musings on entrepreneurship and the intersection of our personal and professional lives. From a keyword standpoint, as well as a Google quality score level, we are good to go!

Having finally made this decision to move forward, we are excited to see where these efforts lead us. Regardless of whether we hook any big fish with this ad campaign, we will learn a lot of valuable information about ourselves and how we reflect up against the rest of the advertising community at large. I’m looking forward to driving more traffic to our website and to step onto a new competitive stage.

Stay tuned for our next blog installment covering the nuts and bolts of implementing our ad campaign. Hint: It may not go as smoothly as one would expect!

If you’d like to explore advertising for your company, we’d love to hear from you. Call us at 603-373-8866 or email us today.

Anne Richardson

​Anne Richardson is the owner and media director of Richardson Media Group, an agency specializing in media planning and buying, advertising campaign management and SEO.

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Richardson Media Group logo icon.
Anne outside the door of the Richardson Media Group office.
In addition to her role as owner and media director here at RMG, Anne authors the majority of our blog posts. Favorite topics include the entrepreneurial journey, media planning and buying, and forming productive agency partnerships.