Jan 4, 2016 11:11:00 AM

Why Smaller Agencies Make Better Partners

Posted by Carly Jacoutot

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There are a lot of factors that come into play when deciding to hire a marketing agency: service options, deliverables, previous work, and price, to name a few. But one thing that shouldn’t be a factor is the number of people working at the company. All too often marketing managers assume the bigger the agency is the better off they will be. This may have been the case 20 years ago, but a lot has changed in the marketing industry within the last decade. And if you focus heavily on the size of the company when making your hiring decision, you will be missing out on some of the best marketing agencies.

Below are four reasons why small agencies outshine their larger counterparts:

Amount of employees doesn’t equal amount of effort.  So you’ve hired a marketing company that has over 500 employees. Great, now you will have so many people working on your company’s campaign! Unfortunately, this is not the case. Even in the biggest firms, there are likely no more than 10-15 people working on/touching your account. And those people are probably also working on 10-15 other clients as well.

At a small agency you will still get the same time put in, but you will get the added benefits of personalization, a team of people who really get to know your brand inside and out, and the opportunity to speak/meet with all of the people working on your account. In fact, this all starts before you even hire the agency. When being pitched by a small agency you will meet anywhere from 20-40% of the company. In a large agency, this number is under 3%.


The senior management team actually knows what’s going on. Think you can call up or email the CEO of the large marketing firm you’ve hired to check in on how your projects are going? Think again. In a large company, client work may filter up 2-3 levels of management (and that’s probably only if there’s an issue), but unless you’re a top client, most likely the senior level employees have never heard even of your company. At a small agency, not only is the senior team aware of all the clients being worked on, but they know about specific projects, client goals and are involved in the strategic oversight. This makes for more attention to your campaign and a more dependable, consistent work flow.


Culture is king. Small agencies are a hot bed for creativity and innovation. Employees with good ideas can actually see their visions come to life. This type of work environment gives employees a strong drive to continue learning, improving, and creating. Employees of a large company can become lost in the mix and feel like just a number, worrying only about themselves and not the company as a whole. This affects their attitude, their outlook, and their work (read: your company’s campaign). Culture is key for the agency, which means it is key for you, too.

Another bonus of this is you can usually tell the personality/culture of an agency when first meeting with them, which makes it easier for you to decide if they’re the right fit for your company.


The extra mile is crowded. Employees of a small agency learn really quickly that their client’s success directly impacts the success of the company, and in turn, their own personal success. It’s like the old saying, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Well in agency life, if a client ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

Unlike a large company, you can’t hide behind your management team or dish the work off to someone else when a problem arises. Because of this, employees are willing to go above and beyond to make sure their clients are consistently happy and their expectations are being met.  In many cases this means having to help out a team member with another client’s work or staying after hours to ensure quick turnaround for client requests. But it’s all worth it for the employees because they know an unhappy client affects everyone in the agency, and when this does happen, you can be sure it’s an all-hands-on-deck situation until the issue is resolved.


Though hiring the smaller agency may seem like a risk to you at first, you will soon find out for yourself there are added benefits to hiring small, and it can be one of the best decisions for your company and your marketing campaign.



Topics: Marketing Agency

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