How Big of an Agency Do You Need?

We believe in transparency, so I’m going to tell this to you straight. You might not like hearing it, you may disagree with it, and you might even get angry about it, but it’s the truth you need to hear. Size matters.

There are tons of agencies of all sizes around. You can find single-person agencies that punch way above their weight. Some are small agencies with 2-50 employees. You’ve got your regional agencies with 50-200+ on staff. Then, there are the mega-agencies and holding companies with thousands of employees spread around the globe. When you are looking for the right agency to work with your brand, picking the right one is tricky. You need to consider a lot. The team must able to provide you with the services you need and handle the work. Another priority? You should have no doubt that your business is meaningful to them. Notice that how big an agency might be didn’t quite make the list of priorities. However, it’s important to appreciate that an agency’s size will absolutely impact how they provide service.

Large agencies can offer you a multitude of advertising services via a team of specialists. You might find employees at those kinds of organizations operate with impressive titles and job functions that you don’t find at smaller agencies. Running a massive team allows you to hire for very specific roles and spread them out across clients. Do you need an Associate Contributor of Marketing Intelligence on your agency team? Do need one badly enough to justify paying a higher price to get that role onto your team? Maybe you do, and maybe you don’t. On the flip side, smaller agencies tend to be home to professionals with a broader base knowledge that extends beyond the confines of their job title. That’s because when you’re on a smaller team, every member gets to do more to support the clients. Plus, slightly fewer cooks in the kitchen don’t just mean everyone is more well-rounded. It also helps keep team-wide focus on the campaign’s “big picture” goals a little more easily.

You might be concerned that your project is too big for a smaller agency, and that could very well be the case. To get a clearer understanding of whether or not that’s your situation, it’s critical to understand your agency’s track record when it comes to scaling up. Have they ever onboarded a big client successfully, and what did that look like? What processes do they have in place to ensure that everything happens smoothly? Can you speak to a past client who represented a similar amount of growth for the agency at the time?

The opposite concern is equally valid. Will a massive agency partner feel any material impact from the success or failure of your campaign? If they are so big that your account is a rounding error to them, will you enjoy their top level of service? Smaller agencies are typically more reliant on your business, which makes them eager to listen and do anything they can to help you achieve your business goals. They keep focus on the client and work hard to achieve your definition of success, because every client is valuable to their business.

Many brands are attracted to big agencies, and who can blame them? The big guys knock pitches out of the park because they have cohorts of people to prepare them, as well as swarms of dedicated sales staff to follow up throughout the sale. Smaller agencies don’t have that advantage. We do offer something else though, which some folks prefer. When the pitch is over, you are usually working with the same people who pitched you. That lady or gentleman who talked the talk is now the one who will walk that walk. There’s a personal level of accountability that comes into play. In either case, you should make an effort to figure out who, specifically, will be on your team once the pitch comes to a close.

Every campaign is unique. Every brand has its own voice. Every project is going to vary in scope. There may well be times when you need the largest agency you can find to best accomplish your goals, and we wish you all the best if you find yourself in that position. On the other hand, you might be looking for something a bit more bespoke. When you’re looking for the boutique experience of a smaller agency, we’re ready to be found.