Good business management is a comprehensive process that consists of developing strategies that will enhance your everyday activities to ensure success. When it comes to business marketing management, the same can be true. Many managers today are enlisting the help of industry experts to assist in the different segments of their business. In marketing, that means hiring an advertising agency. The biggest mistake most companies make is they want to hire the biggest and the most well-known known agency. Sure, large marketing agencies have their perks, but there's a significant upside if you look to hire a boutique agency.
Don't Underestimate the Power of the Small Unified Team.
The Battle of Thermopylae depicts the best example in history of a small team coming together with an epic strategy. This is what boutique marketing agencies do every single day. They have insurmountable problems but use creativity, a personal approach and take ownership of their work in order to succeed.
What is a Boutique Marketing Agency?
By definition, boutique refers to an independent retail shop specializing in the fashion industry. A boutique marketing agency is similar but concentrates directly on the businesses it markets using a holistic approach. There are several advantages (and some disadvantages) to hiring a boutique firm versus the "big dog". Let's start with the basics.
First, the facts: over 75% of the businesses in the U.S. are small businesses. Does it make sense to hire a huge corporation to manage their advertising? Do they understand what it is like to promote a small business? Boutique agencies are small businesses and can identify with the value of each dollar and the necessity to succeed.
Boutique Advertising Agency Advantages
A Personal Approach
Smaller advertising agencies tend to be run by a core crew that handle everything from client services to campaign creation. The very team you hired will be the same one you work with on a daily basis. They are the ones directly accountable for your marketing and will have specific knowledge of all parts of your strategy.
They Will Save You Money
Along with uber personal service, small agencies tend to work faster. Large agencies have teams and large departments, and more often than not initiatives get passed around several times before a decision is made. This is known as the "silo effect." Boutique agencies know you, they know your team, and they know all the moving parts of their agency. This saves time and money.
They Take Ownership
Any good business manager knows that when their employees take ownership of the business, the business runs better. Small business owners live and breathe their business literally on a minute-by-minute basis. Everything they do revolves around building a successful, well-run machine. Large advertising agencies rarely take ownership; they have siloed departments working on churning out materials for hundreds of clients only focusing on one specific need. Normally, the biggest clients get all the attention and focus. Boutique agencies take ownership because your success means their success. They need to execute the best work possible because they care and the referral you give means growth for them. They are also looking to make a name for themselves and tend to go the extra mile for you, as many small businesses do for their customers.
Much like taking ownership of a business, a boutique agency must come up with insanely creative content. They may have thousands of campaigns under their belt, but they look at challenges differently. The status quo is never an option. Again, boutique agencies need to stand out by definition. It is paramount to their success. Large firms will fall back to what they have been doing for years and may take the safe route. They will be the team that's happy making it to the playoffs, not the team willing to go for the big play and the win. Let's be honest, who ever wants to be status quo?
To be 'fair", we should explore what large agencies bring to the table. They have years, if not decades of experience. Consequently, they tend to be at the same speed as the rest when it comes to new technology. For example, social media marketing. Eight years ago social media marketing didn't even exist, and now it's on its way to becoming a leading field. Plus, the best social media marketers on the planet are usually young adults under the age of 30. Don't even ask about Inbound Marketing; large agencie love the traditional advertising world, and new more efficient strategies are frequently foreign to them.
The biggest agencies will try to recruit the best talent so they may have the best teams on the planet. However, they often have so much work that they need to hire constantly which could cause lapses of work and strategy.
Large agencies do generally put out good work. They didn't get to the top by being bad at what they do. The downside is they know this, and they are going to charge you for it. And with the influx of hiring you will sometimes see junior staff given senior level tasks to complete at a senior level rate!
Large agencies have rooms full of amazing awards they have won. Frequently large agencies are laser focused on winning awards to keep up with that corporate agency bravado. The boutique agency doesn't have time to apply for a trophy on the wall; they're too busy being rock stars for their clients. If you don't believe me, follow some of these guys on social media, I guarantee you will see them tell you how awesome they are.
As you can see, there are fundamental differences between corporate advertising agencies and boutique agencies. For my money, good business management comes with utilizing the best solutions around, and in this instance that is the boutique marketing agency.
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