Large Full Service Agencies vs Small Specialist Agencies – Which One Is Right For You?

What type of agency is the best fit for you? Small agencies and large agencies both have their own pros and cons. This comprehensive guide lists all points to help you decide. Ultimately, the best choice for you will depend on your specific needs and budget.

Think about the last time you hired a marketing agency. Did you have trouble deciding between a small agency and a large agency? The best way to understand the inner workings of an agency is to analyse its structure.

As a marketing leader, you know that choosing the right digital marketing agency is important. But with so many options to choose from, it can be tough to know where to start. Smaller agencies typically offer more personalised attention and are more nimble, while larger agencies have more resources, depth in services and robust processes.

Here are some of the key differences between large and small marketing agencies. Read on to get a better idea of which one is right for you.

What Are The Advantages Of A Small Agency?

A small agency is a close-knit team of versatile professionals who can take on a wide range of projects. Staffed with 10 to 20 experts, they focus on a specific area of expertise. This allows them to provide high-quality, specialised services to their clients.

Like a family, the team members are supportive of each other and willing to go the extra mile. This creates a positive and productive work environment.

If you’re looking for an agency that will treat you like a priority, you should work with a small agency. They are more agile and responsive to your needs and are quicker in making changes to your marketing campaigns. Small agencies take pride in their ‘we are smaller so we try harder’ attitude. 

In short, small agencies are the future of marketing as they have the freedom to provide clients with a more holistic experience.

What Are The Advantages Of A Large Agency?

A large agency, unlike a smaller one, has up to 100 to 150 employees, tedious processes and established operating procedures. While they have better resources and more reach, they can also be slower to make decisions and get things done. This is because they have more bureaucracy and a more complex decision-making process.

Teams of 10 to 15 individuals look into specific tasks. For example, they might have a team of copywriters who write text, a team of graphic designers who create visuals, and another team of social media specialists who manage social media accounts. 

Large marketing agencies have many clients. Mid-level staff members are often responsible for handling the day-to-day tasks of managing accounts, while more experienced staff members focus on strategic planning and execution. 

Moreover, they may have a committee that needs to approve all marketing campaigns before they can be launched. Before the launch of a campaign, the deliverables go through several members. In some cases it can be time-taking but also ensures optimum quality.

They operate at a higher price for their services because they have more layers in management and larger overheads.

How To Choose The Right Agency In 2023

Ultimately, the best way to choose a creative agency is to consider your specific needs and goals. If you’re looking for a partner who can provide personalised attention and a high level of service, a smaller agency may be a better fit. If you need an agency with a lot of resources and experience to handle a large or complex project, a larger agency may be a better choice.

Some factors to consider when choosing the right size marketing agency:

  • Your budget: Large agencies are typically more expensive than small agencies.
  • Your needs: What are your specific marketing goals? If you need a comprehensive marketing campaign that covers all channels, a large agency may be a better fit. But if you’re only looking for help with specific channels, a small agency may be able to offer more personalised attention.
  • Your timeline: How quickly do you need results? Larger agencies can often take more time to approve and begin work, but smaller agencies may be more flexible and responsive.
  • Your industry: Some industries are more competitive than others, and you may need a larger agency with more resources to compete.

6 Reasons Why Small Agencies Stand Out

Niche Expertise: If your goal is to reach a highly specialised target audience, a small agency may be your best bet. Fashion, travel, performance marketing, social media, SEO, or content marketing – the agency will be completely devoted to your cause.

Personalised Attention: Small agencies can give you more personalised attention than large agencies. They are more likely to know your business and your goals, and are more likely to be willing to create a marketing plan that is tailored to your specific needs.

Affordable & Authentic: Small agencies are often more affordable than large agencies. This is because they have lower overhead costs. They won’t try to be sales-y or pitch something you don’t need, and they’ll be honest with you about their capabilities.

Faster Turnaround Times: Small agencies typically have smaller teams, which means that they can get things done faster. They are also more agile and flexible. This means that they can adapt quickly to changes in the market or your business needs.

Innovative Thinking: Small agencies are more passionate and believe in innovation. This is because they are typically owned and operated by people who are passionate about marketing. They are also more up-to-date on the latest marketing trends.

Results-Oriented: Small agencies are focused on results. They want to help you achieve your marketing goals, and they will work hard to do so. You will have more direct contact with the people who are working on your account.

6 Reasons Why Large Agencies Stand Out

More Resources: Large marketing agencies have the resources and the connections to handle more volume of work. They have the resources and expertise to manage complex campaigns across multiple platforms, but they can be expensive and impersonal.

Methodical System: Large agencies have a system in place that works, and they stick to it. Their processes and procedures have been fine-tuned over time, which helps to ensure that their marketing campaigns are executed smoothly and efficiently. They also have a system for tracking results, so they can see what is working and what is not.

Broad Approach: Large marketing agencies offer a wide range of services, from campaign ideation to branding, email marketing to retargeting. Their broad approach helps them pose as a one-stop-shop for full campaign execution. They can work with businesses of all sizes and in all industries.

Value-Added Services: Large agencies go the extra mile to offer premium services which also have a higher cost. They offer a wide range of services, including market research and focus group organisation to help brands make more informed decisions about their marketing strategies.

Strong Network: Large agencies often tap into an extensive network of referrals, partnerships and agency networks to fulfil business needs that go beyond their core services.

Less Risks: Large agencies have a lot of experience and resources, which allows them to develop and follow procedures that minimise risks. This can be a good thing for businesses that are risk-averse and want to ensure that their marketing campaigns are executed smoothly and efficiently.

Small Agency Or Large Agency — The Verdict

In the long run, agencies are all about one thing — the people who work there. 

No matter the size, find an agency with a culture that you mesh with. Your top priority should be to work with skilled professionals who are passionate about their work and will give their all to your project.

Make sure you find a team that you can trust and who will be a good fit for your company culture. The best agencies are those that are built on strong relationships.

Before you finalise the agency you’re going to work with, here are a few tips:

  • Get recommendations from friends, colleagues, or other businesses.
  • Do your research and read reviews.
  • Meet with a few different agencies to get a feel for their culture and approach.
  • Ask about their process and how they measure success.
  • Make sure they're a good fit for your budget and timeline.

At 360 OM, we specialise in helping businesses take their marketing efforts to the next level. Our team stays on top of industry trends, uses data-informed optimisations to maximise your ROI, and provides full transparency through comprehensive reports.

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