Why small agencies are ideally suited for modern marketers—especially today

January 3, 2021 • 3 minute read
Is COVID-19 set to accelerate the small agency trend? Before the crisis hit, fundamental shifts were already occurring in the industry—with marketers moving away from the AOR structure and towards more project-based partners and in-house teams. They’ve understood the inefficiencies that are keeping them from getting ahead, and they’ve adopted new ways of working to address it. Now, the trends are accelerating. With marketers becoming increasingly risk averse, big agencies are downsizing—and small players with the talent and creative freedom to nimbly turn around quick-hitting advertising campaigns are set to grow past the agency giants of yesterday.

How we’re realizing the full potential of “small”

We’ve recognized that in today’s landscape, being small allows us to do a lot more. Here are some things that our size has given us the opportunity to put in motion, helping us build a strong and flexible foundation for the future: First, we’ve addressed the growing in-house model head-on. While big brands are moving many of their projects in-house, they still need agency support—and, because of their size and overhead, larger agencies have struggled to play the role of both consultant and creative partner. Our size, on the other hand, has given us the ability to embrace this more consultative approach. We’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with our clients to build well-functioning partnerships, mapping team structures on their side and ours so that processes work for everyone—helping us operate as one cohesive team. As a result of our structural flexibility and our clients’ willingness to experiment, we can become more ingrained in a business than we ever would without our in-house client team. Drawing from two different sets of expertise, we operate like a single team, elevating output on both sides as the aisle between us becomes a mere formality. Second, we’ve focused heavily on our relationships. In this new agency realm, we’re primarily project based, so it pays to zero in on client relationships by truly putting ourselves in their shoes and staying up-to-date with their industry and their business. This gives us the ability to add the kind of concentrated value that makes their jobs easier—elevating our role as a strategic partner who is actually invested in helping them grow. And finally, we’ve made ourselves scalable. Over the past year, we’ve built a quality, global network of agency talent that allow us to tap into skillsets when we need them—from web development to 3D animation to comprehensive SEO strategy. Using this network, we can scale up or down at a moment’s notice and work at a pace that suits the exact needs of any client.

What makes small agencies a great fit

A businesses model built around being agile has significant implications that many marketers are finding to work in their favor—especially while navigating the complexities of COVID-19. When partnering with a small agency, you get the following benefits right off the bat:

1 – Your Success is the Agency’s Success

All agencies say it, but small agencies mean it: we have a real stake in the success of your business. With fewer clients and a smaller team, the small agency model only works if clients grow, meaning that each and every client matters equally. This ultimately makes small agencies more effective and reliable, because we have skin in the game.

2 – Every Client Gets the A-Team

Because of the condensed structure, agency leaders will be intricately involved in your business—aware of the ins and outs of the way it operates, and embedded in everything from market insights to creative output. Being small means that the experts who pitch for your businesses are the same people who are actually going to work on your businesses. This means you won’t just meet the a-team on pitch day—they’ll be there for the long haul.

3 – Creative Freedom = Better Creative

The bread and butter of any agency is creative, and at large agencies, the process can be suffocated by burdensome processes and meeting the demands of an agency hierarchy that isn’t actually familiar with the details of your business. Small agencies have neither of these things, freeing creatives up to do what they do best. As a result, the quality of creative coming out of small agencies has skyrocketed.

4 – Less Layers Saves Time

Removing the endless layers of larger agencies quickens the pace of projects, allowing smaller agencies to mobilize more efficiently and turn work around more quickly. Removing unnecessary cooks from the kitchen leads to a more streamlined and efficient process—and in the current climate, the ability to pivot quickly has never been more important.

The main takeaway

Now more than ever, there’s no time for smoke and mirrors. We are living through a crisis, and brands need an agency that can pivot with them. Small agencies are fully equipped to be the agile partner clients need.
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