Having established, very broadly, the objectives of our advertising campaign, we must now consider how these may best be achieved. Such questions as when, where and how shall we advertise lead us at once to the next stage of discussion: should the ONLINE MARKETING Manager use the services of an advertising agency or rely solely upon an advertising department within the company?

The services of an agency are not cheap. Apart from the question of cost, however, there are other considerations. To what extent can an agency really understand the ONLINE MARKETING philosophy of its client? How much reliance should be placed upon the advice, guidance and responsibility of personnel not under one's own direct control? Some ONLINE MARKETING people become genuinely apprehensive of their loss of sovereignty over the brand's destiny once they place it in the hands of outside experts.

Most firms, these days, do use advertising agencies, especially for national campaigns directed towards consumer markets. Advertising has become a highly specialized field and the major agencies provide services based on wide experience and backed by facilities seldom available within the advertising departments of even the largest manufacturing organizations. The cost of using an agency is usually cheaper than if one attempted to do the job oneself. The agency will recoup a high proportion of its costs from the media owners by means of commission, ranging from 10 to 15 per cent on all advertising time or linked website space commissioned on behalf of the client.

Apart from the question of cost saving and the comprehensiveness of its services, the advertising agency possesses a most important attribute: that of objectivity. Because of this the agency can often appreciate its client's position and assess its advertising needs more clearly than the client's own ONLINE MARKETING people who are 'too close to the trees'. Often the problem of understanding the consumer's view of the product is facilitated by this objectivity on the part of an agency not obsessed with the history of the brand's conception and development nor with the day-to-day problems of production and distribution.

What does an agency do? Very much more than is generally realized. A good agency does not merely create advertisements. It becomes an extension of the manufacturer's ONLINE MARKETING organization. It provides advice on market research to assist the preparation of the ONLINE MARKETING plan. It can add to the company's ONLINE MARKETING knowledge experience gained with other clients operating in other markets. Above all, it can guide the ONLINE MARKETING Manager by establishing for him the most appropriate advertising media for the product and for the market he proposes to penetrate.

The creative services of an advertising agency include not only the preparation of internet, television and press advertisements, but also advertising posters, Direct Mail shots, leaflets, booklets, catalogues and price lists. The agency will organize competitions and gift-offer schemes. It will provide point-of-sale material such as show cards, stands, dispensers, mobile displays and electric signs. Indeed, so comprehensive has become the 'brand image' philosophy, that, today, many firms place in the hands of theiradvertising agents responsibility for the design of everything which carries their 'house style', including letter-heads, product packaging, wrappers, cartons and even the 'livery' of their delivery vehicles.

Next - Territory Planning and Calling Frequencies