It is a normality these days for brands and businesses in Singapore to engage marketing and advertising companies to gain an edge over their competitors. A company within the industry that deals exclusively in digital media (such as the web, mobile and social platforms) is known as a digital agency. Due to the relatively new entry of digital media in marketing and advertising, they have only been around in the past few years.
With many such agencies sprouting out every now and then, a digital agency within Singapore can come in many different shapes and sizes. For instance, one can be a small boutique shop establishment run by a few individuals or a large corporation employing thousands of people locally and internationally. However, regardless of size, every Singapore digital agency has a basic structure that dictates the type of staff it employs.
Major departments in a digital agency
There are seven basic but essential departments that make up every established digital agency in Singapore. The departments are in most cases quite distinctive from each other but work together to produce effective marketing, advertising and campaign management for clients. They are usually broken down into more sub-departments or given different creative names but the overall basic structure remains the same in all companies. The core departments of a digital agency are:
- Business development
- Account servicing
- Planning and research
- Finance and accounts
- Media buying and digital expenses
A large agency will also have separate departments dealing with the following aspects of their business:
- Web development
- Traffic and lead generation
- Human Resources, tools, and facilities
Let’s take a brief look at these common departments to understand what kind of staff they employ.
Despite its professional name, a business development department’s main job is to generate, follow up and nurture leads that result in the sale of an agency’s services. Such a department usually consists of a business development director, managers and telemarketers. While this may not seem like a lot, they usually collaborate with other departments within an agency to launch digital marketing campaigns and create proposals so as to bring in new business.
Depending on the focus, some agency owners will see business development as the most important element in a Singapore digital agency that will ensure its survival regardless of market conditions. As such a department is tasked purely with bringing in new clients while the existing ones are set aside for the account servicing department to handle, their work is certainly no walk in the park.
As the name describes, this is a department that will manage a digital agency’s clients. It is made up of account executives, managers, and account directors depending on the size of the agency. Being the link between different departments within the agency and the clients who pay the bills, its importance in the functioning of a digital agency is undisputed.
Planning and Research
This is the department where planning meets strategic thinking. It’s usually staffed by a combination of researchers and account managers. Their core responsibilities include providing consumer insights, measuring the effectiveness of existing digital marketing campaigns, market research and ensuring that everything in general is going smoothly from a macro perspective.
This is by far the most crucial department within any digital agency in Singapore or elsewhere in the world. Many call the creative department the lifeblood of the advertising business because it is responsible for the actual advertising of the product, brand, or service. To put it simply, a digital agency is only as good as the advertisements its creative department puts out. Staff in this department play multiple and usually varied roles. They include copywriters, designers, art directors, production artists, UI/UX designers, just to mention a few. In most agencies, these professionals work together as a team under a creative director.
Finance and Accounts
While clients will want a good return on investment (ROI) from any marketing or advertising initiative, every digital agency in Singapore and around the world seeks to make a profit at the end of the day too. This is why every agency has a finance department that oversees money coming in and going out of the agency in its wide diversity of expenditures. Aside from determining whether the agency is operating at a profit or loss, this department is also responsible for paying salaries, benefits, and other overhead expenses.
Media Buying and Digital Expenses
Though often relegated to the planning and research department, the media buying sector of a digital agency plays a key role in procuring advertisement time and space for the company. In a company that still does traditional advertising campaigns, the department is responsible for buying TV and radio time as well as outdoor advertising space in billboards and posters. In an agency that is fully digital, media buying staff seek for paid search and social media pay-per-click (PPC) opportunities with the best ROI for the company’s clients. The department is usually run by a media director.
The key focus of this department is to turn ideas into reality. The production department collaborates closely with the creative department in the production of campaigns within the required budget. Their work ranges from producing illustrations to developing websites. It is also the responsibility of production department to generate traffic in collaboration with the media buying and creative staff through different methods including search engine optimization (SEO), paid search, and social media marketing strategies.
Oftentimes, external parties have the impression that a digital agency in Singapore is made up of just account managers and creative staff. However, as we have described in this article, the roles that make up a digital agency can be relatively diverse and the running of such a business is certainly more complex than what is seen on the surface. Understandably though, there exists fewer departments and staff often perform multiple roles in smaller agencies. With so many different configurations of digital agencies out there, it is important to find out more about an agency’s organizational structure before awarding a project. By having such details, it will give you a good idea on whether they will be able to eventually deliver on their promises.