Everyone knows the story of David and Goliath. The small taking on the big, the underdog seeking out the favorite. Today, the world of creative agencies is filled with Davids and Goliaths, boutique creative advertising agencies, established organizations. But which one is better for your company? Will it be a “David” like a boutique agency, which is quicker, more personable, and eager to take risks? Or is it a “Goliath” company, with better name recognition, top advertising employees, and years of experience? After doing some research, we’ve concluded that in terms of creative agencies, David does indeed beat Goliath, and smaller, boutique agencies win the day.
1. Boutique Creative Agencies are Risk Takers
When it comes to advertising and marketing, most companies are looking for new, fresh ideas. Because boutique agencies are not bogged down by corporate rules and regulations, there are free to be flexible and innovative in their strategies and decisions. Whereas larger companies are used to doing things a certain way, smaller boutique agencies are able to work directly with clients to determine personalized strategies that work for them. This creative flexibility helps in the long run, as YARD executive Ruth Bernstein says, “If you’re a smart CMO trying to re-steer the titanic from sitting an iceberg, you would want a speedboat, not a bloated cruise liner to help guide you. They want an agency that can quickly respond to their needs while maintaining creativity and flexibility.” Flexibility, risk taking, and creativity are key to growing your business, and in these respects, boutique agencies deliver better than larger creative agencies.
2. Smaller Agencies are the Best Communicators
Your company is important, as are its needs and goals. It can be frustrating when working with an agency that does not prioritize your company. Big creative agencies are likely to have multiple clients, and if your company is on the smaller side, it may get swept under the rug. According to Hubspot, 80% of marketers report that their lead generation efforts are only slightly or somewhat effective. That means that they aren’t seeing the results they want. Boutique agencies are equipped to work directly with you to solve problems in a way that benefits your company. Larger creative agencies may not dedicate the necessary time to your needs. When you work with a boutique agency, the person you are in contact with is usually the person in charge. Direct communication is incredibly easy. With larger agencies, it may take time to get in contact with the supervisor, and often your project may be handled by a lower level employee. If communication is key to your company, boutique is the way to go.
3. You Get More Bang for Your Buck
It’s no secret that boutique agencies are cheaper. Larger companies have more employees, and more expensive operations. For companies looking to save money, smaller agencies make the most fiscal sense. According to a digital agency survey, 59% of 2-51 person agencies charge an hourly rate of $101-200, while 61% of companies with more than 51 people charge on average $201-500 per hour. When investing in creative services, depending on the size and resources of your company, it can be better to work with a boutique agency, which will deliver high quality results at a fraction of the cost. Larger agencies are powerhouses with loads of marketing knowledge and software, but those services will cost you. That being said, even large companies such as Pepsi, which can afford to pay big name agencies, often choose boutique agencies for certain projects, as they produce innovative and effective campaigns. Consider your budget when deciding which agency to work with.
4. When it Comes to Creative Agencies, Culture is Important
Why is the culture of another agency important? As long as a creative agency completes their work, it shouldn’t matter, right? Actually company culture is extremely important. In the creative world, identity is highly valued. Boutique agencies are small enough that they don’t lose their potency or vision amidst corporate regulations. As Forbes magazine puts it, “small agencies are not big enough to lose their identities…the interactions between the employees and the visionaries is frequent, so the cultural soup is constantly fed visionary nutrients.” You should want to work with a company that has a work culture that inspires creativity and constant communication. Now, this isn’t to say that big companies don’t have great cultures, or that they aren’t creative, but large organizations often get caught up in paperwork and difficult interdepartmental communications. As AdAge writes, “At a large agency, where there is more to lose, clients are often shepherded to deliverables that the agency can safely create.” No company should want to be shepherded.
So does this mean that all large creative agencies are bad? Of course not! For certain companies, large creative agencies provide the name and results they are looking for. It all depends on the company itself. That being said, the four items listed above are just a few examples of how boutique agencies can better serve the needs of companies in efficient, creative, and cheap ways. So when looking for a creative agency to partner with, keep in mind that boutique can be better.