How To Choose An Ad Agency That’s Right For You



Agency Shopping 101: What’s The Best Fit For Your Business?

Are you looking for an advertising and marketing agency and don’t know where to start? After more than 30 years in the advertising business, I’d like to offer some tips to help you begin your search:

1. First and foremost, look for an advertising agency with experience and knowledge of your service area. You want an agency that knows what it’s doing. Its employees should demonstrate excellent skills in advertising, marketing, communication, business and technology in order to help your business achieve its goals.

2. When looking for an agency, don’t only look at its portfolio. Although it is important to see examples of an agency’s work and the range of clients, do some extra research. Talk to the agency’s past and present clients. Most people love to give their opinions and would be happy to share with you their experiences. Ask them how satisfied they are with the agency’s work and customer service. Specifically, check to see if work is usually completed on time and within budget. I always encourage prospective clients to talk to our current and past clients since they know us best; some of our clients have even been with us since our founding in 1996.

3. Advertising is a major expense. Examine your budget to determine how much you can spend. One way to keep you on track is to consider the specific services and media avenues you want to utilize. This way, when you meet with potential agencies, you can communicate exactly what you want and get an estimate.

4. The world is changing: traditional media alone can no longer reach and motivate audiences to action like it used to. Consumers today — especially Millennials — want compelling content in a variety of mediums. This means agencies should be using technology to create innovate solutions to meet consumers’ expectations and needs.

Our team uses inbound marketing to create high-performance websites; custom videos for TV and Web; and social media and blog content to attract and retain your target audience. Then, we measure the customer impact with a variety of analytics such as search engine optimization and conversion rates to check our progress.

5.   Especially with smaller agencies, collaboration is key. If an agency doesn’t have the resources necessary to meet your specific need, is it willing to team up with other firms to get the job done? Some agencies like Em-Media already have contacts and relationships with other industry professionals they use to supplement its in-house capabilities. Others prefer to work alone. You should know your potential advertising agency’s policy on collaboration.

6. Likeability is an important factor in choosing an ad agency. This may seem obvious, but it often gets overlooked while you’re considering all of the other factors. But the reality is if you don’t like the employees at your agency, eventually you’ll be looking for a new one. You’re going to spend a lot of time working and communicating with these people. Your relationship with your agency should be a mutually beneficial and pleasant one. Consider whether you would feel comfortable dropping by their offices with a quick question or grabbing coffee with members of your ad team. Your initial response to this idea should be a good indicator whether an agency is a good fit for you.

Ask my clients and they’ll tell you that I always encourage them to stop in our offices if they have a question, or even just to say hi and discuss the Pirates’ season. I love talking and building relationships with my clients.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to what you want in an advertising agency. My guidelines are a just starting point to help you make your final decision. You have other factors that are important to you as well; maybe you want your agency to have in-depth knowledge of your industry, or maybe it’s essential for your agency to be local. Not all agencies are alike, but you know your business’ needs better than anyone. You’ll know when an agency is right for you.

If you have any questions, or want to learn more about Em-Media and inbound marketing, feel free to email me or set up a free consultation. I would enjoy hearing from you.

Until next time,





Jim Emmerling
Owner/President/Media Specialist, Em-Media Inc.

Phone: (740) 264-2186


About Jim Emmerling: Helping businesses succeed through creative meaningful campaigns was and continues to be the driving goal of Em-Media, which was founded on April 1, 1996 by Jim Emmerling. Since the inception of Em-Media, Jim has guided his team of media specialists into one of the region’s premier full-service advertising agencies. Jim’s advertising career spans 30+ years. Prior to starting his own advertising and marketing agency, Emmerling worked at The Gannett Newspaper Corp. in Tarentum, Pa., and held management positions at The Daily Collegian in State College, Pa., as well as at WTOV9 in Steubenville. A native of New Kensington, Pa., Emmerling graduated from The Pennsylvania State University in 1984 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in speech communications. Jim and his wife, Lee Ann, have raised four wonderful children: Michael, Jacob, Jonathan and Isabella. Jim is very active civically, serves on several boards of directors seats, and was past president of The Steubenville Rotary Club.

About Em-Media: Since 1996, Em-Media has given clients the best value in today’s markets. No matter where your business is located, Em-Media can create a cost-effective, memorable marketing message. Em-Media knows the importance of communicating clients’ messages in an ever-changing digital world combined with traditional media. Our team is up-to-date on new digital media trends to adapt to our clients’ ever-changing needs. From start to finish, our staff is ready to design your website, manage your social media platforms, and increase your presence on the online spotlight.

Our primary function is consulting with our clients on marketing goals and creating advertising campaigns utilizing television, radio, digital platforms, billboards and print media to accomplish these goals. We have confidence in the experience of our team to assist in the development of your market area.

The agency’s expertise encompasses but is not limited to:

Media Buying & Placement | Brand Strategy | Graphic Design | Website Development | Commercial Production | Social Media Management | Inbound Marketing | Public Relations | TV & Radio Show Production

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