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The First Creative Presentation From Your Ad Agency


Ad agency presentationHow to prepare for and respond to the first creative presentation from  your ad agency.

Owners of small businesses don't often participate in creative presentations by their ad agency. The primary reason for this is that they don't have an ad agency, or the relationship is more casual than formal.

But as companies grow and meet new challenges, there will come a time when the CEO will sit down for his or her first formal presentation from an ad agency. An effective business strategy for advertising calls for adequate preparation.

Preparing for and responding to this first presentaion is the topic of this post.

At issue is not the business knowledge of the owner. The simple fact is, if you haven't experienced a presentation of this type before, you may feel uncomfortable and make some mistakes that could affect the effectiveness of the advertising.


Here is a summary of key points. Get the complete audio enhanced Powerpoint presentation here.

Why Prepare?

The purpose of preparation is to keep you focused as you share your objectives with your agency. You don’t want to get off track. It will cost you time and money, and it’s terribly frustrating.

Key Elements
1.  Marketing Strategy

The simplest form of a marketing strategy is to have a specific objective, target audience, and positioning statement.

An objective can be something like increasing leads by 5%, or increasing sales by 10%, or increasing customer traffic by 8%. Your objective should be quantifiable and able to be tracked and measured.

Your target audience is whom you are speaking to. Make this as specific as you can.

Positioning helps your target audience understand your company and what you are offering: it’s about who you are and what you do.

2.  Creative Strategy

The next step is to write your creative strategy, and it is something you should do with your agency. The creative strategy helps focus the ad.

The first part of the creative strategy is your key message: it’s what you want to communicate. For example, you may want to introduce a new product, announce a promotion, or describe your services.

The competitive stance is the reason why your target audience should deal with you and not your competition.

And, the call to action is what you want the person receiving the advertising to do.

What to expect from the ad agency

At a minimum, expect the agency to present only work that is on-strategy. Expect a range of alternatives to help you understand how the creative assignment can be satisfied and to allow you to make a selection that fits your personal style. And don’t allow any errors or sloppiness in the material presented to you. Errors and sloppiness at this stage, when the agency wants you to buy into their creative product, means problems down the road.

Some Don'ts

Don’t feel pressured to make a decision. It’s unfair of an agency to even imply that you make a decision if you are not ready and comfortable.

Don’t feel pressured to agree with the agency. If you disagree, explain why.

Don’t feel uncomfortable to ask for explanations, even if the point seems simple. It’s the agency’s job to have a rationale for everything.

Don’t feel uncomfortable to ask for time to review and consider the presentation. Remember, the agency has been steeped in the work for weeks, and it’s not unreasonable for you to take several days to consider it.

Some Dos

Do probe areas of uncertainly or confusion. If you are confused, your target audience will be confused.

Ensure that the strategy has been followed and satisfied. I can’t stress this enough.

Do review your likes, dislikes, and concerns and expect a reasonable response.

And do ask probing questions even about the tiniest details. This is a good way to determine how well the agency has thought through its work.


Start with a strong foundation: these are your marketing and creative strategies.

Don’t feel rushed or pressured.

Remember that you are the authority on your business, not the agency. Don’t default to their judgment simply because they are the agency.

The best agencies what honest feedback.

And, the best clients – that’s you – are open to new ideas. Be prepared to be challenged.

View the enhanced audio Powerpoint presentation.

Mission: To help small and mid-size businesses acquire customers by re-thinking their business and marketing strategies.


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