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Marketing Metaphors: How Working With an Ad Agency is Like Eating at a Restaurant

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: we love a good metaphor. Well, get ready for another one. We all eat out at restaurants, so why not make a connection to something we’re all familiar with? Today we’re going to explain how working with an ad agency is like eating at a restaurant.

Choosing your restaurant

Step one when it comes to dining out is choosing where you want to go. You consider options that align with your tastes, what you’re craving, where you’ve had a positive experience previously or something you’ve been wanting to try. Maybe you’ve even had recommendations about this restaurant from others. Maybe you just want to try something new.

All of this applies when choosing a marketing agency to work with. Does the agency align with your tastes—aka, your company’s brand culture? Have you seen the agency doing something new that you’d like to try with your marketing?

Getting seated

You’re at the restaurant. Time to evaluate your party’s needs. How many are in your group? Do you prefer a booth or a table? Does anyone need special accommodations like a high chair? Like interacting with the host at a restaurant, a marketing agency will take the pulse of your brand off the bat by doing a preliminary evaluation. This includes assessing various aspects of your company and what it’s all about.

Ordering your drinks

First things first—order a drink! Getting your drink order is the server taking care of your immediate needs first. We do the same when starting work with our clients. For example, if we see a glaring issue with your website or social media accounts, we’ll take care of it. This falls into the category of short-term goals—those items that need more immediate attention.

Looking over the menu

Time to talk strategy. Yes—even when we are actually talking about eating at a restaurant! Will you order an appetizer and an entrée? Or just an appetizer as your entrée? Will you and your spouse order different dishes so you can try more things? These are all questions we ask ourselves to place an order we’ll be happy with.

Working with an ad agency is like eating at a restaurant in this metaphor scenario for a similar reason. When you work with us, we like to talk strategy as well. We’ll help devise a marketing plan based on both your business’ short-term goals (drink order) and long-term goals (the entrée, possibly even stretching into dessert).

Placing your order

Alright, you’ve strategized. Now it’s time to place your order. That’s akin to us helping you put your marketing plan into action. And you know how sometimes you customize your meal at a restaurant? We’ll customize your marketing plan to meet your needs as well!

Checking in

Communicating with your server at a restaurant is important to ensure the best experience possible. So is communicating with your marketing agency. As we work to implement marketing strategies on your behalf, (as your food is cooking) we’ll be sure to check in with you periodically to keep you updated with progress. Conversely, if there’s anything we need to know that could be beneficial to us better serving you, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Digging in

The food’s here. Time for you to sit back, relax and enjoy your meal! This is the phase in the marketing process where we’ve set your strategies in motion. As a business owner, you might not be sitting back and relaxing, but at least you’ll be able to focus on other tasks related to running your business while we handle things from the marketing side.

Springing for dessert

You know what’s the icing on the cake? Checking some of those long-term marketing goals off the list! And we say why not treat yourself at every meal.

Leaving feedback

After your dining experience, it’s time to assess how it was. Did you enjoy the food? Was the service on point? Would you recommend it to others? After a marketing campaign, it’s time to measure the results. Do the metrics show progress? Did the campaign achieve the goals you set out to achieve? Is there room for improvement? We ask these questions and more to continue making suggestions that will strengthen our clients’ marketing efforts.

And like leaving your server a tip to reflect a job well done—you can always leave us a review!


One part where this metaphor for how working with an ad agency is like eating at a restaurant doesn’t hold up: when you’re done eating, you leave the restaurant. But when you team up with us for marketing, we’re always here!

Bear in mind: there is a point to metaphors like these (besides us getting to use our imaginations). That point is to help you better understand our processes and what you can expect from your experience with us. Talk to you soon!

McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

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