What Is Social Marketing to Advertising Agencies

Advertising Agencies
Do advertising agencies and social media represent a culture clash? Are these mutually exclusive entities that are best confined to their own worlds? Is it possible to use the combo in a manner which offers the best of both worlds?

What is social marketing to an advertising agency? How can an advertising agency leverage the best of social media while avoiding any culture clash? In this post, I define the paradigm of social marketing from an advertising agency’s perspective.

Creativity is the common ground

Critics often point out that advertising agencies thrive on creativity – something that’s largely amiss in the world of social media. I strongly disagree with that statement. IMO, creativity and innovation serve as the common denominators for social media as well as ad agencies. The moment you stop being creative and shy away from innovation, you are liable to fail – no matter whether it’s social media or whether you are a part of an advertising agency.

No substitutes

Social marketing is all about word of mouth. Social networks as well as ad agencies serve as the means while social marketing remains the eventual end. While ad agencies are used to tapping conventional media, social networks such as Facebook and Twitter have emerged as unconventional yet effective means for social marketing.  It’s all about the mindset. When an ad agency gets comfortable with the notion that social networks and conventional advertising tools aren’t substitutes, they are well positioned to leverage the best of both worlds.

Before the pitch

Social media is a highly effective medium to breed familiarity before an ad agency makes a new business pitch. Prospective clients often consider innovation and responsiveness as the primary criteria for selecting an ad agency. The beauty of social media is that it lets advertising executives develop relationships with people.

Further, ad agencies can tap a prospect’s or rival’s social media stream to gain valuable insights into their business and create/ modify their pitch accordingly.

Jet set go!

In the past, an advertising campaign may evolve over a period of weeks, even months in between the first set of commercials or placements and the next iteration that continues to tell the story. Social media drastically shortens this cycle to days and in some cases, even minutes where agencies can leverage the massive reach of social networks to launch instantaneous campaigns.


Social marketing is all about two-way communication. It’s a common misperception to treat advertising as a one-way street. Advertising agencies‘ creatives must adhere to listening and observing to their communications process. After all, user feedback is the most important part of an advertising campaign and it’s the differentiating factor between good and “great” advertisements.

How would you define social marketing from advertising agencies perspective? Please share your experience by leaving a comment below this post.

Join the Conversation


  1. Juan Felix       Reply

    Hi @Douglasi:twitter  IMO ad agencies need to focus on building relationships first before selling. This is what social media marketing teaches us. There is so much noise out there and the number of messages are growing with the speed of light. So, how does one still stand out? Start building a relationship first, then listen and understand the real challenges facing people. This will give ad agencies enough info to create enchanting messages that attract people like a magnet. In other words: stop selling, start listening. 

    1. Douglas Idugboe       Reply

      That has been true before the advent of mass embrace of social media and will continue to remain true @JuanFlx. People are influenced by people they like, hence buy from people they like.

  2. Lance Internetmarketingfirm       Reply

    Social media is a greatly effective average to
    breed knowledge before an ad agency makes a new business pitch. Future clients
    often believe improvement and responsiveness as the primary criteria for
    selecting an ad agency. The beauty of social media is that it let’s advertising
    executives develops relationships with people.

  3. Anne Patrick       Reply

    Wow! This one is very clear. I usually think that they have still a common ground though both are in different prospectives. Maybe their common is communication whether a social media is a two-way one or an ad agency with at least one way communication still both of them give instructions or valuable information. This post is great and I really like how you organized each perspective. Thanks.

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