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Small creative agencies vs. big agencies (the pros and cons)

When it comes to outsourcing your creative marketing and advertising, you may be left wondering which type of agency you should work with. Larger creative agencies give the comfort of security, breadth of services, and perceived status. But does bigger always mean better? 

Small creative agencies make up 68% of the advertising and PR services (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) establishments in the US and they give large agencies a bang for their buck. In this article, we’ll go over the pros and cons of working with a small creative agency to help you determine your best option.

small creative designer working

Pros of working with a small creative agency

Value

Generally speaking, larger agencies are going to cost more than boutique creative agencies. They tend to have higher bills and aren’t as flexible on their pricing options as many smaller agencies.

Boutique creative agencies can create custom packages and terms that allow you, the client, more leverage in the level of service and delivery you want to budget for. There is no need to worry about an hourly rate and if the project is going to cost more than initially expected. You have the total price upfront and the small agency is incentivized to deliver the project on-time, otherwise they are the ones eating the cost of the extra time spent. 

This provides both value and reassurance you are getting the exact service you need.

Quality

When working with a large creative agency, you believe you are getting the best of the best quality, hence why you pay higher prices. Right? 

Unfortunately this may not be true. Unless you have the ability to bring in more partnership opportunities for the company, your project will more than likely be handed to junior level agents with the same skill set as smaller agencies.

On the flipside, boutique creative agencies’ portfolios and reputations are extremely dependent on the level of work that they provide for their clients. They have to choose the best possible agents to produce the best possible outcome. Each project gets staffed with a team member with a specialized skill set to make the project successful.

If small agencies need to take on any outside agents to finish the project, you can rest assured that they are carefully screening them to ensure you get the desired result.

Personal Service

When reaching out to a larger agency, the first person you have communication with more than likely isn’t the person who handles your project. Larger agencies tend to send client prospects to the marketing manager who then sends the work to the project manager who then sends it to their creative agents to produce. 

With each person the project gets passed on to, the likelihood increases of details getting lost along the way. If the finished product isn’t up to standard, you then have to go back through the network to get it resolved.

A smaller agency tends to have one person who handles the project from start to finish. You can communicate directly with the creative agent and have a much more personalized experience that takes less time.

Creativity

Larger agencies come with the risk of diluting your message on its journey down the line. For example, you might hand your project over to a project manager, who hands it down to a creative director, who hands it down to a designer, and so on.

Not only does the creative factor risk getting watered down in the large agency conveyor belt, but the seasoned experts may be stuck in their ways of marketing. The world of advertising and PR is constantly changing and sometimes you just can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Small creative agencies can afford to take more risks to deliver fresh concepts to a client and can be more open to bold visions, all while not losing sight of the client’s marketing problem. Pair this with speaking directly to the person in charge of the creative team, and you are left with a personal, tailored approach that feels more like talking with a trusted friend instead of an out-of-touch business executive.

creative agency at work

Cons of working with a small creative agency

Scale of Resources

Smaller agencies tend to have less resources, money, and contacts than large creative agencies. While this may seem to be a cause for concern upon first glance, smaller agencies use that creativity mentioned earlier to solve this “problem”.

First, advances in technology are closing up this gap as more companies move to a digital work space. Second, many smaller agencies form alliances and are quickly able to add team members as needed. These two factors ease concerns that a smaller agency may not have enough resources.

Range of Services

Many smaller agencies offer a limited range of services and choose to focus on one aspect of the advertising process. Some agencies will develop the idea for a campaign, but leave it up to your company to purchase advertising space. Other agencies specialize in social-media campaigns or branding strategy.

Then you have small agencies like Clever Tiger who defy all odds and offer a wide range of services: graphic design, web design, copywriting, and many more. We offer all the pros of a big creative agency, while giving all of the attention of a small creative agency. 

Conclusion

If you are looking for a creative agency for small business, it is imperative to decide what your project needs are to determine your best option. Both large and small creative agencies can provide the high quality results you are looking for. Everything is dependent on what you are looking for.

And to answer the question posed in the beginning of this article: “Does bigger always mean better?” Here at Clever Tiger, we like to think good things can come in small packages. Just take a look at what our clients have to say about us.

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