Should I go with a big agency or small agency?

Digital Matters – Bigger Agencies Vs Small
Should I go with a big agency or small agency?

I had to laugh when meeting a potential client the other day… let’s call her Jane… Jane is a middle aged entrepreneur.

We had met me at an event and we got to talking, as you do, and Jane spoke of her desire to find a big agency to help market her product. She had a marketing background herself and loved the idea of working with the BIG names. Jane asked me about about my business and I said I thought I could help her with her marketing challenges. As I discussed my business she said “I’ve never heard of Remember Creative”. I explained we were small, but growing. Later on in the event we had connected on LinkedIn and after looking at my profile “oh wow you have worked for X,Y and Z… You must be really good” I sheepishly thanked her for her kind words. As the conversation drew to a close she said “Why don’t you work for the big guys? You’re clearly good enough”.

I pondered her question on my way home and I thought there was value in sharing some thoughts on big vs small agencies…


In the current climate (I know there are digital climate change deniers out there but it’s hard to refute that digital has changed the marketing conditions) it’s hard to know where to put your money when it comes to marketing.

As in-house teams are getting larger (http://www.agencynewbusiness.com/combating-the-rise-of-in-house-agencies/), and depending on which blogs you frequent the generalist and specialist are both growing in prominence, the waters are becoming increasingly muddied – even for the well initiated.

Caveat – I am writing this, and work for, a small agency myself so this list is obviously as impartial as they come.

Less Overhead
There is a bulk that comes from being big that’s the nature of the beast. So if bang for your buck is a major concern then a smaller boutique digital agency might be for you.

History of success
There is a certain comfort going with a much lauded agency – the runs on the board can speak volumes but will the creative team that made you consider company X be the same that will be working on your project?
And yet, the pocket sized agency will usually have a director who have, themselves, been the creatives that have run and been responsible for a number of amazing campaigns – which in turn led to the genesis of owning their own company.

Less polished at presentations
This is a feather in the cap of big agencies for sure, they have the resources to throw at a presentation or pitch meeting and they are doing it far more regularly. Their presentation game is tight!

More Importance
Your business might mean that much more to the smaller agency and with that comes added benefits of your digital agency going that extra mile to make you happy.

A one stop shop
A smaller agency may not be a 360 degree agency which means that you might need to go to more than one source or that the agency will need to collaborate with another niche agency to make the grand vision you have into a reality. This can be a positive in the case of the specialty agency as they have to choose agencies that do good work (to make them look good) and that work well with them (to make everything run smoothly).

More Access
With a smaller creative agency you will find that you have much more access. You might find yourself regularly conversing with the boss or Creative Director rather than a newly vetted project manager.

Perhaps intertwined with access is familiarity – The high demand, churn and burn nature of a bigger digital agency often means that you might have a different person running your account and different team members doing your work often. Seeing as you will quite often be conversing with the senior management and/or owner there is less chance to see the owner moving to another organisation.

And if nothing else, there is the simplest rule Follow Your Gut. Your comfort level with your new agency is tantamount to your sanity, progress and productivity.

If there is a level of apprehension then you will spend more time worrying, checking in and checking up on your new outlay and less time doing what you should be doing running your business.

Remember is a boutique agency and proud of it. If you would like to have a discussion about our processes. Here’s my email.




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Written By: Michael Menzies