Category Archives: Industry News

The Director’s Guide To Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation Inbound Leads

If you’re not taking marketing automation seriously and incorporating it into your overall strategy, the chances are that you’re selling your company short. Last year:

  • 51% of companies used some form of marketing automation, with 58% of B2B companies having implementation plans in place.
  • 63% of professionals planned to raise their marketing budgets for automation.
  • 4 out of 5 marketers saw automation as a critical part of their overall success.

With this said, the term automation invokes a lot of fear and anxiety in the uninitiated, from people not looking forward to learning new platforms to worrying about their job security. 

In reality, though, marketing automation is less about supplanting professionals, and more about removing tedium and busywork from their daily operations. Here’s a top-down look on how to understand and utilize marketing automation in your business.

What Is Marketing Automation?
In essence, marketing automation is an umbrella term for using different software platforms to automate aspects of marketing activities. The marketing team puts together an overall strategy, or workflow, for the software, which it then executes to provide automated communications across a variety of different channels.

On paper, it seems easy, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that marketing automation is a replacement for a well-planned strategy. Marketing automation lives or dies off of the nature of the workflows that you create. As a result, you need to know your audience, and what they respond to or your investment in the process won’t pay off. 

Along with this, you need a solid CRM with prospects in your database to increase ROI with marketing automation. If you have a small existing list of leads, you’re going to see diminishing returns. At the same time, if you buy a cheap list of potential leads and use marketing automation to spam them, you’re just going to hurt your brand’s reputation. So, before implementing marketing automation, have a plan in place to handle database/lead decay.

Replacing Common Platforms
One of the major benefits of using marketing automation is that it allows you to replace a multitude of software platforms. A change like this also means more capacity for your marketing team to dedicate on additional tactics. Here are a few examples worth looking at:

Lead Forms: These used to be the gold standard when it came to lead collection. They consisted of attaching a lead form to something like an e-book or another type of enticing content. The lead’s information would then go into an accompanying database, which compiled warm leads to mine. In the past, this process would be quite time-consuming, from setting up the form to filtering for people who may have filled things out incorrectly. Skipping these steps with automation means you spend less time combing through the database and more time figuring out how to grow it.

Landing Pages: Marketing automation generally serves as the middle of a marketing funnel, helping convert prospects from the lead lists you create to the moment of conversion. For many businesses, landing pages are that point of conversion. Where marketing automation helps is cutting out a lot of the work of data collection (using heatmaps, checking KPIs) to see how your landing pages are performing. Automatically forward people to your landing pages, and see if your marketing is creating an effective bridge from lead generation to conversion.

Email: Replacing email outright isn’t necessarily what marketing automation is about, but more about ending the back and forth process that comes with an email campaign. For example, if someone doesn’t respond to your marketing email at first, it’s generally good practice to send a followup. However, drafting the email and remembering to send it can be a vexing task. Marketing automation allows you to set this all up in advance. Not only does it mean less tasking work, but it also ensures you’re not sending extra emails to prospects that don’t need them.

As a final note, statistically speaking, custom/dynamic automated marketing performs the best out of all automated marketing. And it’s pretty easy to understand why: it helps differentiate you from conventional sales/marketing copy, while also allowing you to target individual customer needs. Marketing automation is also a major timesaver when it comes to dynamic content. For example, you can:

  • Set when your marketing emails/communications will be sent based on past prospect actions.
  • Set different fields in your communications to account for names, companies, and other information. 
  • Add unique imagery/product suggestions based on past behavior.

Marketing Automation And Your Sales Funnel
So let’s say that you’re confident about using marMarketing Funnel Growthketing automation, and are ready to start implementing it. How exactly do you integrate this workflow into your existing sales funnel? Remember, as we mentioned earlier, marketing automation does a lot of work in the middle of the sales funnel. But, you also need to integrate multiple touch points at the top and bottom of the funnel to see the full impact.

How many touch points do you need? It will vary based on the clients, but here are some of the most common examples.

Phone calls: Whether this is a cold call or a followup to an in-person meeting, these are generally the starting point for a lot of sales funnels, especially for big-ticket purchases or services.

Emails: Often, these are the most effective ways to regularly contact a prospect with followup for answering questions and reinforcing services to help convert a sale. You can also use this as a reminder or to let them know about other opportunities.

Social media: Social media as a touch point may seem a bit odd but think of it as the touch point before the touch point. If you reach out to a prospect cold, they may not be interested in your service at that moment and turn you away. Doing things like providing them content on social media and engaging with them in a personal manner will warm them up to your offerings.

So, how does marketing automation come into play here? You can create a workflow based on a prospect liking a series of posts. Then, automatically, send a followup email right after the database triggers the actions of liking the posts. This approach hits multiple touch points for a fraction of the work, meaning it’s easier to personalize the marketing and connect with more prospects.

Marketing automation has gone from a novelty for many businesses to an essential tool. The ability to simplify a multitude of tasks not only helps streamline the workflow of your marketing team but also saves time. However, there are still two main touch points that you’ll need to overcome to transition into automation:

  • Finding a seamless way to transfer from legacy systems.
  • Implementing if you don’t have a marketing team or agency partner.

In both cases, working with a veteran marketing agency like Glint Advertising is your ideal solution. We can help provide consultation and resources for you to move your marketing strategy toward automation.

Highest ROI Marketing Platforms for Q1 2020

Many people assume that you need to have an annual marketing plan ready before the year even starts to see any success. This philosophy is great in theory (being prepared), but it is often rare that a marketing plan doesn’t alter based on business conditions and opportunities. However, for those who are still trying to put something together, keep in mind ROI (return on investment) should be the overarching focus with the plan. Here are some of the top platforms to consider in 2020.

How Does ROI In Marketing Work?
Before getting into the platforms themselves, let’s briefly talk about the importance of marketing ROI. Many marketers get lost in all the KPIs out there and lose sight of what’s most important. As an example, say that you put together a social media campaign utilizing a popular influencer, who isn’t necessarily related to your niche. The influencer does their job, leveraging their fanbase to try and visit your sites, but you don’t necessarily get many conversions. Conversion drop is probably happening because the fanbase the influencer reaches is less likely to buy your product or service. 

If the marketing team was focusing the tactic on web traffic, they might see this as a success. However, in terms of ROI, this is probably not an ideal tactic. With low conversions vs. paying for the influencer, you may even end up losing money when all is said and done. However, if this is a branding play and you’re looking to create the first touchpoint with this audience, then this could be very powerful, long-term.

So, how can you tell if a given platform has a successful ROI? The best way to measure this is by taking your sales growth from the venture, removing the marketing costs, then dividing by the marketing costs. If you saw a sales growth of $2,000 from a campaign that cost $200, you received a 900% ROI from it. There are other measurements worth looking out for, like branded queries or referrals, but that’s the base calculation you want to have in mind. Now, we can start getting into specific platforms.

Video Marketing
For many marketers, a successful video campaign is the crown jewel of their overall strategy. From increasing your traffic to growing revenue, a single successful set of videos can deliver a variety of different benefits. On top of this, when looking at ROI, this is one of the strongest options possible. Some marketers may be wary of video due to cost perception, but new technology has made it easier than ever to break in. In fact, some professional-grade videos can be created utilizing newer smartphones, smart lighting, and a little planning. Along with this, video tends to draw people in for longer periods than many other digital and traditional tactics. Thus it can allow you to tell a better story.

So, with that said, how do you guarantee video marketing success? As video marketing continues to grow, bad editing or poor audio isn’t going to cut it, so first, video quality matters. Another thing you want to make sure you’re doing is taking full advantage of the platform hosting your video. A video series about your services provides the opportunity to define facts while crafting a narrative. It may be worth working with outside help to create a true video script if you’re struggling in this area. 

CRM/Marketing Automation
Depending on whom you ask, these are two separate categories of software, and both play a vital role in marketing ROI. For example, a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool is generally associated more with the sales world, helping to chart all interactions with clients and prospects. Marketing automation is more about helping companies streamline some of their existing marketing tasks utilizing automated responses and drip campaigns. Since sales are uniquely tied to marketing and marketing typically needs a sales converter to close, Glint believes these categories should be combined and provides this type of blended platform for their clients. Learn more about the Glint platform here.

Most people assume ROI is mainly financial, and while that is true, it can also be evaluated through time involvement cost. Using the previous influencer example, it takes time to find the right influencer, negotiating, rolling out the campaign, and running the calculations to determine if the campaign was successful. Marketing Automation platforms help cut down on your time costs by automating and personalizing basic, but necessary tasks.

Social Advertising
Successful advertising is all about being where your audience is, and that means having a social media plan in place. These are great platforms to build marketing ROI because the cost of entry is relatively affordable, and there is an extensive audience available that can be segmented. With this in mind, let’s do a quick run-through of some actionable advice for marketing success on three of 2020’s most popular platforms.

Facebook

  • Have concrete goals in mind (driving traffic, conversions, adding value)
  • Use all of Facebook’s features to help determine who your ads/marketing target
  • Be proactive when it comes to creating engagement opportunities
  • Schedule content ahead for optimized timing

 

Instagram

  • Optimize your biography for a strong first impression
  • Ensure your visual content stays at a high quality
  • Optimize through smart use of hashtags
  • Maintain a regular pace of content

 

Linkedin

  • Remember you are targeting a business audience
  • Analyze competitor pages for advice
  • Use commenting and engagement to drive your content
  • Be sure to understand why people use Linkedin (connections, business development) when drafting content

 

Creating An Overarching Campaign Strategy
It’s also important to remember that you need an overall marketing strategy in place, not just a concept. Using only video marketing, or Marketing Automation, or social advertising isn’t likely to yield success. One major trend that we’re seeing is finding ways to link traditional and digital marketing together and ensuring you have at least three points of integration. An approach like this also allows companies using legacy approaches to leverage their expertise while competing in the digital age. 

An example of this in practice is vanity URLs. These are essentially URLs that make it easier for people to remember a web address, while also redirecting to a longer URL with tracking info. On one end, you’re increasing your brand presence by making it easier for people to remember your site/pages. On the other hand, you’re able to grab some vital tracking info to power your decision making. This is a great type of measurement to start tracking marketing ROI.

Call tracking operates on a similar principle. Many companies underestimate precisely how much of a role calls can play in lead generation, whether it’s cold calling or following up on other marketing efforts via a phone call. Call tracking allows you to tie campaigns to a single business number helping you determine which marketing tactics are delivering. It’s also important to note that the calls are recorded to help you better train your sales team on the way’s to handle and close inbound calls. Like other marketing tracking, this makes it easier to determine which methods are successful, and which need to be improved. 

2020 may be rolling along, but that doesn’t mean you have missed the boat in terms of your marketing strategy. Making some key adjustments throughout the year can contribute to better ROI and the impact of marketing. However, when you’re making shifts, a good starting point is to consider working with a veteran marketing agency, like Glint Advertising. By taking a look at your current goals and marketing plans, we can help you find the ideal platforms to grow your business.

Broadcast vs. Cable TV Advertising

TVs Fightig

One marketing platform that often comes up in discussions is the idea of advertising on television. Rewind a few decades, and running a TV commercial was seen as the holy grail of advertising. If you look at events like the Super Bowl today (and the ad spend it commands), it’s easy to see that TV is still a powerful platform. However, the landscape has changed a lot, with both broadcast and cable TV as options, which is best? Let’s take a closer look.

Why Advertise On Television?
At first glance, many people are quick to say that television advertising is either dying or completely dead. What’s more accurate to say, though, is that it’s in a time of transition. With the advent of the DVR, many people choose to skip ads they may have otherwise watched. Also, the growing popularity of streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and newer options like Disney+ means that more people, particularly younger demographics, are more likely to avoid watching cable or broadcast TV altogether, meaning they’ll miss out on those ads. So, while TV may not be the dominant ad platform it was in the past, it still has its uses.

Specific Demographics:
We mentioned how younger audiences are favoring streaming platforms. However, that doesn’t apply to everyone. Older demographics may still prefer TV, which means products and services marketed to them will do well on the platform. 

Message Penetration: 
Many unfavorable takes on TV advertising compare it to digital advertising. While some comparison points are valid, a lot of digital ads are essentially disrupting people from enjoying the content they’re reading or viewing. Digital ads are delivered so quickly they often don’t resonate with consmers. With TV, people are generally watching it at a state of rest; this makes it easier for your message to sink in.

Legitimacy: 
The fact is that advertising on TV, even if it’s a bit less lucrative now, is still seen as a key way to show that your company has “arrived.” Couple your commercial spot with the right messaging and this space can significantly enhance your brand perception and drive engagement.

Creative Freedom: 
For the most part, with a digital ad, you can only do so much in terms of presentation before your audience choices to lose interest or click to discover more. Commercials allow for more time to present your offering, which can help tip a consumer towards your brand.


The Benefits of Choosing Broadcast TV
To understand the benefits of broadcast TV, it’s important first to discuss the nature of TV distribution and where a given ad will show. 

Broadcast TV generally entails major channels, like ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX. Each of these channels, on top of its broadcast programming, will also generally have local affiliates for a given designated market area. 

Cable television distribution is quite different. Generally, ads are sold in smaller geographic areas known as “zones.” Whether or not you see that as a positive or negative is something we’ll discuss with cable, but for now, let’s focus on broadcast TV advertising benefits.

Larger Geographical Reach: 
Ultimately, in terms of faces put in front of your ads, broadcast TV will give you greater bang for your buck. Also, buying broadcast ad space means that you’ll be able to have customers see your ad no matter what distribution path they choose, such as satellite, broadcast, or cable.

Audience Viewing: 
Broadcast TV daytime programming, which is significantly less expensive for advertising than primetime, generally puts together content that skews towards older, female audiences. If this is your target demographic, it’s a great way to reach a wide span of potential clients. Also, advertising during local news is a great way to appeal to a broader demographic at a fraction of primetime costs.

Better Insulated Against Digital: 
The idea of people “cutting the cord” has grown more popular as digital streaming platforms and cable packages begin to compete. However, broadcast TV generally performs a lot better. Even people who opt to stream broadcast programming on their computer can still see your ads.

The Benefits of Choosing Cable
As mentioned before, when buying cable advertising, you’re investing in zones rather than broad areas of a region. An approach like this leads to perhaps the most important aspect of buying cable, audience narrowing. 

Microtargeting: 
As an example of cable ads for a specific audience, small businesses like dentists’ offices or automotive repair services generally don’t draw in an audience from more than 20 minutes away. As a result, broadcast TV ads would put you in front of many customers that would never end up converting. Narrowing your geographic area, which cable can do for you, puts your ads in front of an audience that is close and saves you money, which provides a better ROI.

Interest Targeting: 
Most cable channels provide content around a specific interest, like Food Network for cooking or HGTV for home improvement. If your business markets to that niche, you have a built-in ready audience for your product or service.

OTT Advertising: 
You may be concerned about reaching younger demographics that favor streaming over conventional cable. You can get around this with OTT (over the top) advertising. These ads generally cost less than conventional ads and can be viewed through tablets, phones, computers, and connected TVs (CTVs).

You may be a bit surprised that we haven’t talked about cost yet. The main reason for this is that out of cable and broadcast TV, there isn’t a single one that is always going to be more or less expensive than the other. The real cost drivers in terms of TV advertising take into account universal factors like:

  • The channel the ad will run in
  • The program the ad will be run alongside
  • The duration of the ad
  • The amount of area coverage for the ad
  • Production costs for the ad

The less particular you are with placement also means that you can find cheap and expensive options both on cable and broadcast television. For example, programs like the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, World Series, and Olympics, which have massive appeal and reach, are some of the most expensive ad spaces available, and they are on broadcast TV. However, shows like The Walking Dead that are massive cable draws also are costly. So, the easiest way to think of it is like this:

  • Broadcast: Higher ceiling, more expensive on average
  • Cable: Lower floor, but could still be costly for prime ad space

Watching TV

Along with this, if you have a high production budget or want a nationwide reach for your ad, it will likely cost more to produce the spot no matter what platform it’s on. Some ways to save when buying advertising space is committing to a longer advertising run. Of course, you need to have enough material to keep your commercials fresh and feel confident that that decision will put you in front of the right audience. 

Ultimately, the decision to advertise on cable tv or broadcast tv comes down to where your audience is and your budget. However, whichever ad platform fits you best, you want to make sure you have strong advertising content to get the most potential for a return on your investment. If you are looking for more options in this area, be sure to partner with a skilled banding, advertising, and marketing agency, like Glint Advertising. By taking a look at your current goals and marketing plans, we can help you find the best vehicle for your advertising content. 

Narrow Vs. Broad Marketing

Broad_Narrow_Marketing_HeaderOne of the fundamental things that every marketing professional learns early on is the importance of targeting an audience with your content. In addition, trying to be everything to all people rarely leads to results due to competition increases and individual expectations. After all, it’s hard to justify a brand if it doesn’t connect with you. 

However, something that doesn’t get talked about nearly as much is when the opposite situation happens, and you get too specific. For example, if you target a very distinct niche of customers, you may grab their attention, but you also may be building your company on a flimsy foundation. If something happens to lower that pool of customers or competition appears, suddenly, you may not have enough conversions to sustain your business.

Figuring out how to manage this is a tough balancing act for many marketers, but it’s also time well spent. Here are some of the elements you need to consider when deciding on a narrow or broad marketing focus.

Narrow Marketing: Pros and Cons
Narrow marketing primarily uses the idea of “being the best to a certain audience” and takes it to the next level. Essentially, all of your marketing content is going to be tailored to a particular niche. For example, if you are an educational software provider, you’re going to try and choose a subset of education to try and reach out. Do you expect your target audience to be mainly teachers? Administrators? Students? Parents? A narrow marketing focus would generally take 1 or 2 of these options and focus on those. If people from other niches get on board, that’s great, but more of a bonus.

The main pro of a narrow marketing focus is that you’re much more likely to get qualified leads and results this way. By putting out more specific content/marketing material, the people who end up reacting to it likely already have either deeper ties or a greater understanding of the niche you want to service. Following up on our previous example, if you were trying to market educational software to teachers and focus a lot of your messaging on teaching-related issues, that audience knows you understand their needs. A focus like this builds authority for your company and increases your opportunity for conversions.

An additional benefit of going narrow that may not be widely known is that, in some ways, it can be easier to put together materials. By comparison, working on broad marketing requires you to draw on information for a variety of different customer segments, which can be difficult if you don’t have the experience. 

With narrow marketing, you can focus all of your data collection and research on one particular customer niche. Know them inside-and-out, and you’ll be able to put together the marketing materials that interest them.

The major drawback of using narrow marketing, though, is that you’re going to see fewer results overall. Fewer results make sense, considering that your targeted marketing, by nature, isn’t going to be addressing some of these other niches and customer segments. The major issue here, though, is that if your marketing misses the mark with that segment, you have nothing to fall back on. The margin for error is far smaller with narrow marketing. 

Broad Marketing: Pros and Cons
Alternatively, broad marketing casts a wide net when it comes to putting together materials. As mentioned before, you can’t be all things to all people. However, you can market a product or service on traits that have as broad an appeal as possible. Good examples of this include competitive pricing and ease of use. 

Let’s revisit that educational software example. The niches of administrators, teachers, students, and parents may all want different things out of their software. Therefore, a broad marketing approach might focus on things like pricing or the number of options within the software suite. These are traits all four categories will find appealing.

The major benefit of using a broad marketing focus is its ability to provide an abundance of results. Giving something for multiple customer segments to latch on to means that even if you don’t reach everyone in that segment, you’re likely to have more interest and impressions overall. Multiple impressions are important for companies in the starting stage that need to build a large customer base at first. In time, that base will likely whittle down to a few major customers, but you’ll want to have as large a pool as possible to start your foundation for selling.

Another advantage of the broad strategy is that it may provide insight into new marketing demographics for your business that you don’t currently know. This approach is often common for pieces of hardware, where you may be targeting one customer segment, but an entirely unrelated one finds it useful for a purpose. The ability to unintentionally stumble on a new audience is an appealing draw for any marketer.

The major issue with broad marketing, though, is that no matter how powerful your message is, you’re only going to get a fraction of those interested customers to convert. As they go through the sales funnel, customers might be interested in your competition or realize that your product/service isn’t exactly what they need. With a narrower campaign, customers that enter the funnel are more likely to convert.

Focus On Viability And Need
So, with all of this said, how should you approach deciding whether to go narrow or broad? In some cases, it may be a case of using both. Many marketing strategies for new campaigns will intentionally go broader at first. An approach like this Marketing_Focus_Sideview_Mirroris often used when launching a new product because it can provide pivotal information to gauge interest in your campaign. In some cases, going broad and then very narrow may be able to provide interest from customers outside of your primary audience. For example, an initial email blast can be a great way to apply this approach. 

If you need to get customer attention and continue to work on persuasion, a more detailed and tailored message to drive that persuasion will be required. For example, if you plan on using content marketing to drive conversions, you want to focus on material that’s tailored to a more specific niche. Trying to go broader here will lead to weaker results because your topics have likely already been covered.

It’s important to make sure that you don’t fall into the trap of “winner vs. loser” when it comes to making a decision on a narrow or broad marketing focus. Also, based on your budget and resources, one may be more viable than the other. The best way to decide on your focus is to have a well-thought-out plan when it comes to your desired objectives and how to reach them.

If you find that your marketing plan, broad or narrow, isn’t giving the results you want, you may want to consider outside help with a skilled marketing agency, like Glint Advertising. By taking a look at your current goals and marketing plans, we can help you determine if a narrow or broad focus is best for your needs. Email us at agency@glintadv.com or, better yet, give us a call at 817-616-0320 to get some additional insights.

The In and Out of Advertising

Door handleWhy people love it, and why they leave it. The advertising industry encompasses a multitude of specialized businesses, including public relations, marketing companies, media services, and advertising agencies. Although the industry is multi-faceted, its components have the common goal of persuading consumers, or their target audience, to purchase or support a product or service. Convincing the right way is where advertising agencies take the spotlight, and they play a crucial role in finding new and innovative ways to reach potential customers.

With the ever-changing demands of markets, there is no shortage of creative work coming out of the industry. Perhaps this fast-paced, dynamic environment is what sparks many to idolize advertising as a fun and exciting career.

Individuals often set their aspirations for a career in advertising based on television sensationalism and early praises of “you’re so creative.” In the end, many feel disillusioned when they realize the sacrifices that come with it and end up leaving without looking back. So, the question is: is advertising really for you? Let’s weigh the pros and cons: 

The Excitement of the Industry
It all starts with a love for writing and design—the brilliant copy, the captivating images, and how the two can mold together perfectly in ads to capture an audience. When this love fuels a passion that’s strong enough, it causes individuals to seek a career in advertising. In addition to the glitz and glamour of advertising, there are many additional aspects to love within the industry—which is what leads people to join in the first place. While the benefits below, among others, may hit all the checkmarks for aspiring advertisers, some will find their passion isn’t worth the sacrifices that are required to be successful. 

1. Admiration For The Efforts Made By Advertisers
People are often enamored by how an ingenious idea was brought to life by advertisers. There is also a strong admiration for the efforts and meticulous planning that had to be made to ensure all aspects of an advertising campaign met the client’s needs. 

2. A Creative Outlet
Many problem-solvers with creative minds are itching to get their creative juices flowing, especially when they have many ideas and nowhere to apply them. Working in a fast-paced industry that values creativity provides daily opportunities to bring those ideas to life. They’re able to craft the perfect solution for clients, and, in turn, satisfy that creative itch they’ve always had.

3. The Ultimate Satisfaction
It’s hard to develop a campaign that not only checks all the boxes of a client brief but also resonates strongly with the target consumer. However, when you do see this happen, the amount of satisfaction and pure bliss that comes from knowing you contributed to something this successful makes it very worthwhile.

4. Constantly Evolving, Always Learning
The market is always shifting, and the consumer’s needs and wants can change in the blink of an eye. Shifts like this make it hard to keep up, but this also always opportunities to learn about all sorts of processes and pick up new skills. 

5. The Variety of Work
The variety of work in advertising is infinite. Each campaign is a clean slate. The bottom line is the topics are endless, and creatives can have fun with re-entertaining ideas that may not have been a good fit for other campaigns.

6. Networking Opportunities
Due to its collaborative nature, there are many opportunities to network with people from all sectors of industry. The relationships you establish and nurture can help you land new opportunities, give you a competitive edge, and often, be instrumental to your success in the industry.

7. A Unique Lifestyle
Flextime, cool office spaces, long lunches, stylish dress codes, fancy cars, awards, industry reputation, bars in the office, directing commercials, are all realistic and great attributes of the industry. We sit around all day brainstorming and coming up with ideas on how to solve marketing challenges for clients. We don’t make widgets; we are literally paid to think, strategize, and be creative.

The Challenges of the Industry
Even though the advertising can be rewarding, the industry does demand a lot of commitment, and the pressure of deadlines can be overwhelming. It’s also a business that requires thick skin because your ideas are not always met with enthusiasm from clients. You’re not making “art,” you’re solving challenges for companies that drive the right opportunities to their front door. Advertising is a business that has to make money, which means you can’t spend months on end developing ideas for one campaign. Time is money, and if you can’t produce quickly, consistently, and with high quality, you won’t be in the industry for long.

1. Ethical Boundaries Undefined
Remember, the main goal of advertising is to convert the target audience to customers. In order to do so, you’ll be contributing to advertisements that may misrepresent the product to the consumers by only focusing on the best features and ignoring negative features. You’ll also have to make decisions to push things forward based on budgets and delivery schedules rather than the highest quality of work. Moral dilemmas such as these can be challenging for many people. 

2. Not Always a “Creative” Industry
There will be cases where you’re encouraged to be creative, but as Leon Jacobs, Executive Creative Director of Boondoggle says, only to the extent of what the client wants. In other words, your creative freedom is limited by the box that the client puts you in before even starting the brainstorming process. There’s really no way around it, as the client’s needs come first in this industry.

3. Not Always “Fun”
One of the best features of advertising is that there are lots of opportunities to work on many different projects and topics. Some will be new, some you may love to work on, and some may conflict with your beliefs. Unfortunately, even if the topic isn’t something you’re thrilled with, if that’s a client the agency believes in, you’ll have to set your beliefs aside and work with them.

4. Have to be Aggressive
With so many other creatives aspiring to succeed in advertising, you can bet that they will come strong with their ideas to win the pitch. Being shy and timid does not get you far in this industry, so you must learn to have thick skin and pitch all your ideas with absolute confidence. You will also have to learn not to take it personally if one of your ideas gets rejected. It’s a feast and famine business that flows like the tide in the ocean. Also, with many agencies, when low tide hits and you lose a large client, you may lose your job.

5. Low Compensation at First
Individuals entering the advertising industry should be prepared for a small paycheck, at least for the first year or so. There is a significant wage gap between entry-level positions of advertising agencies versus tech companies, and some, understandably, find that a turn off. The reason for this is, “you don’t know what you don’t know.” As much as you’ve learned in school, entering the field of advertising for the first time is like starting school all over again.

6. High Pressure
Clients can be demanding and impatient, and as a result, many projects become very stressful. On top of having short deadlines, last-minute changes close to deadline are also inevitable. The worst part is you may end up taking the heat if a campaign flops and a client pulls out. With all this pressure, it can be hard to come up with great ideas even if you are naturally creative. Since this is a business, creative on demand is expected at times and all though important; it is a very small piece of the big picture.

7. Long Hours and Weekends
Again, with the short deadlines and demanding nature of the job, you may never feel like you have enough time. A lot of people end up having to work long hours and over the weekends in order to finish everything they have scheduled. The office becomes the place you spend the most time, and your social life may become non-existent. Although this doesn’t happen all the time, it will happen, and you usually find out last minute.

Leaving the Industry
Wooden Artistic FigureEven after assessing the good and the bad, some people still choose to stay with the industry, as the advertising lifestyle can be intoxicating. With that said, even seasoned advertisers may end up leaving the industry for good.

Kate Robertson, the co-founder of One Young World and former Chairman and Global President of the Havas Group, believes that the advertising industry is a “young person’s game.” With the high stress, long hours, and constant need to come up with fresh ideas, after many years the work can take a toll on the body. 

Other times, people leave out of no fault of the industry, but a shift in priorities. They once entered the advertising industry with a fiery passion and ambition to climb the ranks, but now want to settle down and spend more time with their family. With that said, no one can definitively say if advertising is “good” or “bad,” but rather, it ultimately depends on whether it suits you or not.

To all our seasoned agency colleagues, thanks for keeping the love of our industry alive. We’re here because our passion never wavered, and it’s provided us with experiences that have made us extremely good at our craft. When you see a passion for creativity in our youth, encourage them to pursue our industry, but also illuminate them on what it really takes to live the dream.