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Writing a business plan?

Advertising is an art form and if you are a talented ad artist, there is no better time than today to start your own advertising agency.

Be it in digital form or traditional print media form—Ads make an impact. Be it in a storytelling video, copywriting, or carousel form—Ads reign the hold.

The point is that the advertising market is humongous and even if you have expertise in only one of its domains, you can build a successful advertising agency.

While your skills will make your services desirable, this guide will help you write a business plan that will act as a guiding light in turning your ad agency business successful.

So here we go. Read this detailed guide and find relevant examples, tips, and most importantly an advertising agency business plan template to build your unique business plan.

Let’s dive right in.

Advertising Industry Overview 2024

Before you kickstart your advertising agency, here are a few advertising industry trends you must know:

  • Rise of Cross-Media Marketing: Large corporations and businesses are investing in multiple advertisement channels, both online and offline to grow their overall presence.
  • Advertising services: According to Statista, Internet advertising takes the largest share of 63% followed by print and television advertising.
  • Highly fragmented: The advertising sector has such a low level of market concentration that no agency in the entire advertising space generates more than 5% of total industry sales.
  • Online advertising: The spending on online advertising was more than $222 billion in 2023 and this marketplace is expected to reach $272 billion by 2027.
  • Advertising agencies: As of 2022, there were a total of 86,814 small and big advertising agencies in the US.

Now, let’s move forward and understand the components of the business plan in detail.

What to include in your advertising agency business plan?

Let us now walk you through this step-by-step outline that will prompt you to write an actionable business plan covering essential key components.

1. Executive Summary

The Executive summary is nothing but a concise description of your overall advertising agency business plan.

It is after this section that the reader will decide whether to continue reading your plan or not. So, ensure that it narrates essential key details in a compelling storytelling approach.

Begin this section by offering a brief understanding of your advertising agency and thereafter touch the following topics briefly.

  • Ad agency concept
  • Market Opportunity
  • Target market
  • Service offerings
  • Competition
  • Marketing Plan
  • Management Team
  • Financial outlook

The idea is to have an executive summary so strong that the reader gets answers to all their queries without having to read an entire plan.

Therefore, you should write your executive summary at last after you are done writing for the other business plan components. Having a thorough understanding of the details will help you write this section effectively.

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2. Company Overview

In this section you will offer a brief company description to help the reader get a thorough understanding of your ad agency.

This section is your chance to tell your business story to the reader. So make sure it’s captivating and explanatory.

As for the overview, begin by clearly stating the concept and niche of your ad agency. Disclose your business structure and clarify whether you will be running a sole proprietorship, partnership, or LLC, and the details of profit profit-sharing ratio.

If your ad agency has been operating for a considerable time, add details such as when the business was started, its achievements, and the milestones you may have achieved over the years.

Add more insights to this section by describing the business objectives, mission statement, and core values of your ad agency.

You can refer to this example of a mission statement taken from an Upmetrics plan to write a meaningful statement for your plan.

mission statement for ad agency business plan
Write your mission statement like this example used in the Upmetrics ad agency business plan

3. Industry and Market Analysis

An in-depth understanding and analysis of the advertising industry is essential to build a successful ad agency.

In this section, you will determine your target market, emerging trends, competition, and competitive advantage in the advertising industry.

Market and Customer Analysis

Begin this section by offering a macro overview of the advertising industry and then narrow down the research to your specific niche.

Determine your serviceable obtainable market and identify the emerging trends within your market.

Further, in this section, you will define your target market by creating a buyer’s persona of your ideal customer. Include the demographic as well as psychographic details of your target customers to get a thorough descriptive picture.

Refer to this buyer’s persona written using Upmetrics AI assistant:

advertising agency customer analysis

Competitor’s analysis

In the competitive analysis section of your plan, identify the advertising agencies and other businesses that offer direct or indirect competition to your business.

Your direct competitors are other advertising agencies, digital marketing, and social media marketing agencies. While your indirect competitors are freelancers, in-house marketing teams, and PR firms that takes away the share of your serviceable market.

Conduct a SWOT analysis of your key competitors and identify your competitive advantage over them. Analyze your competitors based on their service offerings, target demographics, pricing, and other relevant factors.

Here is an example of competitive advantage using the Upmetrics plan.

competitor analysis for ad agency business

4. Service Offerings

Advertising is a huge market and an agency may offer a variety of services to cater to its clientele. In this section, you will help the readers gather a clear understanding of all the services you will be offering.

You may consider adding the following services to the list:

  • Ad Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • Branding
  • PR services
  • Digital marketing services
  • Influencer outreach services
  • Email marketing services

Refer to this example of ad agency services taken from an Upmetrics plan.

service section of this ad agency business plan
Like the service section of this ad agency business plan, create a graphical visual of your services for proper representation.

Make this section a little more informative by describing your services in brief. Also, add the pricing of your services to give your readers a thorough picture.

5. Sales and Marketing Plan

In this section of your business plan you will outline the sales and marketing plan for your advertising agency.

Begin by creating a well-defined sales plan highlighting your acquisition strategies, pricing strategies, and your sales goal.

Explain your sales process and outline the different sales approaches you will make to achieve those objectives. This includes sales strategies such as cold calling, lead generation, BD meetings, etc.

Refer to this example highlighting the sales strategy for an advertising agency.

After laying your sales plan clearly, begin the work on your advertising agency marketing plan.

Some of the prominent marketing strategies for an ad agency include content marketing, email marketing, ad marketing, print media advertising, and SEO practices.

Evaluate the marketing channels that are most suited for your business and draw an individual strategy for each of these marketing channels.

Lastly, highlight your marketing budget and its allocation between different marketing campaigns in this section.

6. Management Team

In this section of your advertising agency business plan, introduce your key management team and offer a brief description of their profile. Highlight their skills, experience, and expertise in the industry and show how they are an invaluable asset for your business.

Introduce every person in the team and offer a rough understanding of their payroll in this section. You can also lay a clear organizational hierarchy map to help understand the flow of authority and responsibility within your organization.

7. Operations Plan

The operations section of your advertising agency business plan outlines the processes and procedures essential for running everyday operations at your advertising agency.

It is the most resourceful document that will guide you to run an efficient ad agency with its utmost detail. However, to make it resourceful consider adding the following elements to your operations section.

Operational processes

Highlight the process for all sorts of business activity and the service offering. This includes processes for service delivery, client acquisition, quality check, client retention, marketing, communication, and much more.

Refer to this Standard Operating Procedure written using Upmetrics AI Assistant.

advertising agency operational plan

Tools and technologies

Highlight tools and technologies you will require to deliver ad agency services. This may include software such as a project management system, analytics software, collaboration tools, etc.

Hiring plan

Mention the number of graphic designers, ad specialists, project managers, and accountants required in your business. Briefly describe their qualifications, skills, and payroll for these roles and clearly outline your hiring plan.

Refer to this example describing the hiring plan for an advertising agency.

Overall, make this section as detailed as possible. After all, a well-defined operational plan is like a guidebook that can answer all the queries that would arise while running the business.

8. Financial Plan

A Financial plan dictates the success and feasibility of your business idea by offering the investors a clear picture of the agency’s projected profitability, growth, and cash generation capacity.

It needs to be realistic and not something that looks good only in books. So bear that in mind.

Begin by making detailed projections for startup costs, funding, sales, revenue streams, and cash flow. These projections will come in handy when you make the financial statements for your ad agency.

Using the projections made earlier prepare the following key financial reports:

financial statements for ad agency business
Create your financial statements like this for your ad agency business plan.

Refer to this Profit and Loss statement taken from an Upmetrics plan and create such financial reports for your plan.

Ideally, the projections for up to 3-5 years are essential to get a realistic view of your business in the long run. However, working on the projections from scratch can be extremely time-consuming and difficult.

In such cases, using a financial forecasting tool from Upmetrics can make the entire task of creating a detailed plan much more easier and effective. Simply enter the details in the tab and let the tool undertake all the manual calculations and create engaging visual reports for you.

Download an Advertising Agency business plan template

Want some help writing the contents of your business plan? Well, here you go. Download our advertising agency business plan sample pdf and use it as a reference point to write your plan.

Kickstart your business planning with our intuitive modern templates that are designed specifically for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Import the data into the editor and get started.

The Quickest Way to turn a Business Idea into a Business Plan

Fill-in-the-blanks and automatic financials make it easy.

Write your business plan with Upmetrics AI

Let’s streamline the business planning for your advertising agency with Upmetrics. We offer AI assistance, step-by-step guides for writing a business plan, and an extensive library of 400+ business plan samples that can be easily edited to suit your specific preferences.

Whether you plan to start a full-fledged digital advertising agency or a traditional advertising agency, Upmetrics provides valuable resources and insights to build successful and professional business plans that will perfectly align with your business objectives.

Start writing your business plan now.

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About the Author


Upmetrics Team

Upmetrics is the #1 business planning software that helps entrepreneurs and business owners create investment-ready business plans using AI. We regularly share business planning insights on our blog. Check out the Upmetrics blog for such interesting reads. Read more


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