The world of marketing attracts more and more people with high earnings and the opportunity to cooperate with the best brands on the market. 

In addition to freelancing and direct work with companies, you can opt for a more official solution, which is a marketing agency. 

You plan to start a marketing agency in Kenya in 2020, but you don’t know where to start? 

We have prepared for you a short guide in which you will find all the necessary information that will allow you to make the first and most important step in the industry.

What is a marketing agency?

Let’s start with the basics – what exactly is a marketing agency? 

On the market, you can find companies that specialize in comprehensive activities, as well as those focusing only on specific activities. 

The main tasks of a marketing agency include;

  • preparing advertising campaigns, both traditional and online.
  • supporting the company in creating an online image.
  • including through website design and development of the mentioned campaigns.
  • creating brand communication strategies in social media and the AdWords advertising system.
  • as well as SEO rankings.

 In addition, the marketing agency can also specialize in organizing events and planning everything related to brand events.

The first step – the official establishment of a marketing agency in Kenya

At the very beginning, it is necessary to set up a business or limited company, civil and public. 

Unlike many other professions, a marketing agency does not require any specific permissions, so really anyone who feels strong enough to run their own business can open it. 

After submitting the appropriate application to the office competent for the place of residence, you should also try to enter in the National Court Register (this obligation is imposed only on persons establishing a zoo or public company). 

After completing the formalities mentioned above, the newly baked entrepreneur faces the choice of the form of taxation and uses the option of becoming a VAT taxpayer.

The marketing agency, as well as other activities, is charged with the obligation to pay appropriate contributions to the Kenyan government and the need to set up a company account at the bank chosen by the entrepreneur.

Advertising agency – where and with whom will you work?

If you decide to set up a sole proprietorship, you don’t need to rent the premises. 

However, when your marketing agency employs a larger number of employees, it’s worth thinking about a place where you can not only work in comfort with your team but also to meet clients. 

What is worth paying attention to when looking for a place ideal for a marketing agency? 

First of all, in its space – in addition to jobs, it should include a conference room and kitchen. 

It is also worth taking care of the right location – the closer to the center, the better.

A marketing agency will not succeed without the right team. 

Depending on the clients you would like to serve, you will need to hire graphic designers and specialists for creating and implementing a specific type of campaign. 

Even if your starting budget is limited, as the number of clients increases, you will be able to hire more team members.

How to set up your own marketing agency in Kenya?

And why a marketing agency and not an advertising agency?

 Advertising is part of marketing, so a marketing agency just has a slightly broader meaning. 

It is not about the promotional activity itself. 

Designing, implementing campaigns and creating advertising materials for clients is just one of many marketing services that companies are looking for and which should be included in the agency’s offer.

Scopes of Digital Marketing

When planning to set up this type of business, you must first specify the scope of services. 

If in the first phase you plan to run it yourself (which is possible), you will have to limit your offer to your specializations.

And as you grow, new marketing specializations will appear along with new collaborators, for example:

  • copywriter (content marketing, buzz marketing, email marketing, etc.)
  • graphic designer (marketing creation, content and visual identity, graphics and advertising materials, etc.)
  • marketing specialist (market analysis, marketing strategy, communication marketing, PR, advertising, etc.)
  • social media manager – (social media marketing, a specialist in social networks)
  • programmer or web developer (creating websites and websites, creating mobile and business applications, etc.)
  • SEO specialist (positioning, optimization, content marketing)

It is worth remembering that a lot depends on your concept and possibilities. 

You can start alone, and then other specialists will be joining you while expanding your offer. 

You can first look for the right people and having a team start building a new brand. 

You can also not employ anyone but have the right contacts to reliable freelancers, whom you will engage when their support is needed. 

All 3 options have their advantages and disadvantages, which is why it is worth thinking about it thoroughly.

However, before you build your own team, you will need some practical information on the possibilities and formal issues:

  • prerequisites – marketing and advertising is not a regulated activity, so no permits or concessions are needed. Of course, this does not release you from knowing and complying with legal regulations. 
  • taxation – the agency may tax income on general principles or by a flat tax. A tax card or registered lump sum is not an option.
  • forms of business activity – you can perform your services in the form of gainful non-registered activities, or registered in any form, except for a partner company. Therefore, it can be registered as a sole proprietorship, a civil law partnership or one of the commercial law companies. However, it should be remembered that when choosing a form other than individual business activity and a civil law partnership, one has to take into account the necessity of accounting. If you were thinking about a company, I encourage you to check the entry on how to set up a limited company premise.
  • premises, headquarters of the agency – to run a marketing agency you do not need to have a headquarters, all you need is a computer and appropriate software. If you intend to operate in your own apartment, please note that the use of part of the premises / residential building for the purposes of business activity requires a declaration to the competent head of commune, mayor or city president regarding the payment of real estate tax (or part thereof) at the rate provided for buildings or business premises used.
  • equipment, equipment – the minimum is a computer with appropriate software and internet access. The amount of equipment you need will depend on your concept. Some specialists you hire will probably have their own equipment, but you should think about the software. Software is often a considerable expense, but necessary. It is good that it suits your real needs and services that you have on offer.
  • business account – an account is necessary when services are to be provided to companies or if the value of a one-off transaction exceeds ksh. 1,000,000. Before choosing a bank, it is worth paying attention to the number of fees associated with maintaining the account. Surprised? 🙂
  • own site – due to the fact that marketing has basically moved to the internet for good, you also have to be there. It will be good to prepare and publish the website before starting your business. What’s more, its appearance and content that will be on it will be your most important business card. And for customers it will be a clear signal of what they can expect from cooperation with your brand.

In one of the last entries, I mentioned personal branding. 

If you were involved in advertising and marketing before you decided to start your own agency, it will be worth somehow to show it. 

Present potential previous projects and experience in the form of a portfolio to potential clients. 

This strengthens your credibility, which is especially important at the beginning of the road.

You probably know the saying in which “shoemaker walks without shoes”? 

In the case of a marketing agency, you have no right to exist and you won’t get away with it. 

If your marketing is poor, no one will believe that you will do it better for customers. 

And you don’t need to be particularly convinced of the importance of quickly catching your first orders?

In summary, a marketing agency in Kenya will be a good business idea especially for people who have been in some way related to marketing. 

They already have the necessary insight and approach. 

They understand the essence of this activity. And the best thing about marketing is simply your passion. 

A business that comes from experience and passion has a good chance of success. 

And if you organize your work well, take care of your image in advance, take a solid approach to advertise and building your own brand, prepare a long-term development strategy, this business idea can be a shot in 10.

Everything is in your hands! And even if not everything, the vast majority.

9 thoughts on “How to start a marketing agency in Kenya”

  1. Hi, first of all thank you for providing such resourceful info. Secondly, im planning to go into digital advertising i.e – E-Marketing, 3D hologram displays. I cant seem to find the right county permit to pay for under Nbo county. They dont have anything that falls under E-Marketing nor Holograms. Would you be able to advise what category it would be ? Your response will be highly appreciated.

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