Throughout the history of modern advertising, businesses have had the choice of purchasing their advertising directly or using agencies. Media outlets such as ours have staff who will sell the advertising directly and if you really know what you are doing and elect to market within a limited number of media outlets, the do-it-yourself approach makes sense. I also think some personal knowledge of the systems behind online advertising will be helpful for anyone with responsibility for the advertising budget — usually the business owner for smaller businesses and the person charged with marketing and business development in larger ones. This especially is important because the internal leader must champion the relationship between advertising (marketing) and sales; the critical area where initial inquiries turn into worthy sales leads and ultimately orders.
These points noted, if you look through history, the largest media buys and biggest companies generally use third-party agencies to manage their advertising purchases. Done right, you access creative and media/market knowledge that you won’t have in your own business. Connect the dots and you can amalgamate and correlate various marketing and advertising initiatives.
In the current online media era, specialist agencies and services may be especially useful, especially because of the speed of learning and adaptation you need to achieve to get the results you want. A/B and multivariate testing can, done right, generate increasingly profitable results, but this is an active, not static, process. We are in a very different era than the old Yellow Pages, where you made a once-a-year decision on your ad, and sent the check each month for the unchanging ad.
Then add the enhancements/options, such as extreme market segmentation, remarketing (where you can stay in the mind of people who have explored your site) and native/editorialized advertising with demographic and geographic filters for content, social and search media, and you have so many variables that you would stress out trying to figure them all out and make the best decisions, especially when you can “target buy” both the major services such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and more specialized smaller services such as (in a self-serving example), Floridaconstructionnews.com.
Who should you use as an agency? I know a few different services which may be appropriate for different types/sizes of business. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a few suggestions.