After the marketer selects an ad agency for its product or brand the marketer gives an ad brief to the account executive, the person in charge of handling that particular account.
This ad brief generally includes information such as:
1. Why does the marketer think there is need for advertising the brand or product
2. The target audience
3. What do they think about the brand and other such products
4. What is the kind of response the marketer wants form the consumer after they see the ad
5. The USP of the product
6. Any suggestions as to how the ad should look
The next step is where the account executive analysis the ad brief and goes back to the client in case if any clarifications are required. Then this ad brief is broken up into a creative brief and a media brief. These are given to the creative and the media department respectively. The media and the creative department then conduct research if required for the characteristics of the target audience, their likes, their dislikes, their living conditions, their behaviour in general, their exposure to the different types of media and so on.
The creative department after the research comes out with various alternative campaigns for the product. In the same way the media department also makes alternative media plans. The creative and the media department then make presentations to the account executive who in turn after discarding various ideas selects 2 or 3 ideas which according to him matches the ad brief and the requirements of the client the best. If none of the ideas appeal the account executive then the creative and/or media department have to work from scratch all over again.
Once this is done, the account executive or someone from the account planning department assisting the account service department makes presentations to the client of the ideas that were approved by the account executive. There are three possibilities at this stage:
- The client does not like any of the ideas presented and again the creative and media department have to work towards another idea.
- The client approves of an idea which is sent for further processing.
- The client is confused between two very good concepts. Here there is Pre- testing undertaken. Both the ideas are shown to a specific audience that is assumed to be the representative sample of the target audience as suggested by the client. Depending upon their response for the two ideas the best is chosen and sent for further processing.
After one concept is finally approved of, the creative copy is sent to the printer for the print ad. For the commercial, the concept is sent to the production department where the ad is shot. The decision about model selection is either of the client, account executive or the film director or a combined effort of all three.
As the print ad is being made and the commercial being shot the media department at the same time starts buying media slots as per the approved media plan.
The next step is the launch of the ad in the specified media.
Then comes the next step of billing. An ad agency generally charges the client on the basis of a fee structure or on a cost-plus system basis.
Under the fee structure, the client and the ad agency negotiate a flat sum to be paid to the agency for all work done. The agency estimates the cost (including out of pocket expenses) of servicing the client who either accepts or negotiates for a lesser amount. Negotiations continue until an agreement is reached.
The cost-plus system is generally used when the media billings are relatively low and a great deal of agency service is required by the client. This happens most often with industrial products, new product introductions etc. that require disproportionate amount of agency help in preparing brochures, catalogues and other non- commissionable marketing activities.
The final step is Post- evaluation. In this stage the success of the advertisement is judged through research conducted wherein the target audience as such is questioned on the visibility of the ad, whether the ad is top of mind or not, if the product is existing has the new campaign helped in increase in the sales or not and so on.