Large agencies have fancy offices, more resources, big name clients and shiny awards on their walls. Game over, right?
“Does size really matter?”
Not so surprisingly as a boutique agency we tend to take offence to suggestions we can’t play in the big sand pit. So we put together the top 5 reasons we believe size really does matter.
The number one reason marketing agencies lose clients, isn’t lack of talent or even poor execution, it’s ironically, as a result of poor communication. Lack of progress reporting, excessive technical jargon, erratic schedules, and unclear results all combine to create divisions in the client / agency relationship. Trust is gradually eroded until the end is all but inevitable.
Smaller agencies necessitate flat management structures. A system of management which allows for much greater transparency. Information is shared far more freely between team members working across a client account as well as between both businesses.
This is in stark contrast to larger firms where layers of management and departmental boundaries often create information silos.
“Departmental boundaries often create information silos.”
Small agencies are able to become specialists in a chosen field. This can be a marketing discipline such as SEO or design, or within an industry vertical, like Hospitality or Retail. This specialisation allows them to often out-skill their much larger rivals.
Larger firms have to support a much larger overhead, which forces them to become what’s referred to as “full service” agencies. They rarely focus on individual sectors or channels, needing to aim instead at larger national or multi national clients. Perhaps the expression “jack of all trades” exists for a reason after all.
“Small agencies can specialise!”
When you work with a small agency, it’s extremely likely the person who presented you with the proposal, will be working on your account. This level of personalisation brings with it a different level of honesty and ultimate accountability.
A larger firm is likely to employ dedicated sales teams and account managers. Their jobs are selling and not necessarily linked to delivery. Depending on the compensation schemes utilised, it’s not surprising over promising is common place.
“Over promising is common place.”
Smaller agencies are able to anticipate and adapt quickly to changes in an incredibly fast paced industry. Larger agencies need to deal with the management and bureaucracy before hiring or training in a new discipline can even begin.
Small firms share ideas much more easily. This isn’t something limited to the world of agencies. Large hospitality brands are rarely labelled as agile or innovative. A 10-20 person team can all fit in a single room share new ideas and have a decision made in a matter of minutes. A multi-tiered organisation with departments competing for glory, reporting to a board of directors is a whole different story.
“Large firms are rarely labelled agile”
The days of doggedly following 5 year plans are over. Hospitality business, perhaps more than any other industry needs to embrace change as a way of life. Choosing a partner with similar capabilities is critical to success over the long term.
5. Customer Service
Last, but certainly not least. Small agencies care more! There are two main reasons why. Firstly, the owner is most likely engaged directly with your account. When was the last time you had a poor customer experience and blamed it on too much owner involvement? The second and perhaps most obvious reason, you mean more to them. The value of your account will represent a far larger percentage of their overall business than it would at a larger firm.
“When was the last time you had a poor customer experience and blamed it on too much owner involvement?”
Now thats not to say there aren’t trade offs. Larger firms can provide 24/7 call centres and layers of management through which issues can be escalated. And they’re far more likely to offer SLAs and detailed contracts with terms of service delivery. It’s a case of deciding which you value most.
Obviously we accept there’s a place for large agencies. Primarily working alongside businesses that share their working philosophy. If you’ve read this far, then we’re guessing that doesn’t fit your way of thinking!
We’re proud to say that LeadDigital is an agile boutique marketing agency that specialises in the hospitality industry. Our most amazing work has come from relationships with brands where owners are deeply engaged in the projects we’re working on. If that sounds like you then click below!