Large advertising agencies are starting to lose their luster. Agencies who house a cubicle factory are slowly diminishing, making way for smaller firms. The power of a small advertising agency, or a boutique agency, has never been stronger than it is today. With today’s technology, small agencies have all the power to compete with the pristine work that giant firms like BBDO Worldwide and Omnicom Group put out. The quality of work truly relies on the specialized talents of each employee, in each department. Bigger is no longer better, better is better.
The Mad Men era of large corporate powerhouse agencies has passed, and now the boutiques get their time to shine! I’m not just talking about doing away with smoking cigarettes and drinking bourbon in the office. I’m talking about having a 25,000 square foot headquarters, with 200 people in each department, from media buying and production to creative design and copywriting, and everything else in between. These types of agencies are hard to sustain nowadays, and only the best of the best remain.
This is not a knock on big advertising agencies; they produce the some of the most impressive stuff in the business. When we are tuned in more intently to the Super Bowl commercials than the game, we have these giants to thank.
BUT, they do come with some huge disadvantages for their clients.
- Slow moving- the amount of exchanges on one campaign is outrageous. From the copywriting team who has 5 writers with 5 unique voices on one piece of work, to the graphic design team who are constantly critiquing each other. The amount of people to touch a project makes it a long-winded process.
- Slow to the holster- because of the amount of execs, and approvals needed, when decisions need to be made on the fly, big agencies are slow to pull the trigger.
- LARGE overhead- when you do business with a big agency, you’re not just paying for your media buy on Fox News and CNN. You’re paying for the creative director’s assistant’s assistant. You’re paying for the 25,000 sq ft office space, and the lunch that’s catered in everyday.
- Relationships- the most important factor in every business transaction. Because of the saturation of employees, it’s hard to make that special connection to a team of individuals. You need to make that connection in every department, with each team, which can be a difficult task.
Where boutique agencies differentiate:
- Instead of a department, you get one or two individuals that are specialized in what they do. You can connect with your graphic designer, and see him or her three times a week if need be. You are vital to their livelihood, and that’s how you will be treated.
- Forget the cubicle. Boutique agencies are a dynamic team of individuals that are always on the move. They travel and work together everyday, so whether they’re out to client meetings or working on a project in house, everyone is involved and apart of a dynamic team.
- They’re quick on the draw. If a press release needs to be put together, they’ll drop everything and manage your public relations issue. If you need to get that media buy in last minute, they’ll get on the phone and make it happen.
- They ARE a part of your business. You’re a small business owner? So are they. They know that every dollar counts, and they will stretch every penny and every second you give them. They appreciate and value your business, and the results will show you.