Hiring a digital marketing partner is a big decision that can have a large impact on the bottom line of your business. Making the right decision can improve the performance of online marketing channels and increase leads and sales. However, making the wrong decision may take your online performance in the wrong direction and fail to result in an acceptable return-on-investment.
Among the many factors involved in your decision, the size of the agency likely plays a role. The size of your agency partner may give your organization access to different assets which can impact the strategy, planning, and execution of your digital marketing efforts.
Here’s what Big Leap founder and CEO Bryan Phelps has to say about how the size of an agency plays a role in selecting the right digital marketing partner.
“There are amazing agencies that have 2 people and amazing agencies that have 200 people. There really is no right answer, but the size of the agency can make a difference depending on your needs.
There are pros and cons to small or large agencies. With the right small agency, you may have more direct access to the most experienced assets at the agency. However, that may come with a high price tag when a mid-senior level marketer may be just as capable with certain tasks.
Large agencies can provide stability and a breadth of resources from video to analytics to web development. Larger agencies often have good processes in place which often helps but sometimes causes them to be inflexible and more difficult to work with.
Ideally, you want to find the right “Goldilocks” fit for your business based on your resources and needs. One area where we see this come into play often is with startups and entrepreneurs. You may not be able to predict what your company is going to look like in 6 months, so you need an agency that is nimble and flexible to change with you.
I’ve personally worked at an agency that had 250 people and as an individual consultant when Big Leap was just getting started. With our current team size of about 45 people, we have a great mix of experienced individuals where we feel we can provide a strong offering in paid advertising, organic search, content marketing, and social media.”
There’s a lot in there. Let’s break it down into three bite-sized considerations.
First, marketing agencies can be amazing partners at any size. If agency size isn’t an end-all-be-all indication of agency quality, then what makes an agency an amazing partner?
The simple answer is it all boils down to strategy, execution, and communication. Small and large agencies alike can put in the time and effort necessary to formulate a successful strategy and execute on a plan. Agencies of varying size can be excellent communicators. To determine if an agency is a good fit in these areas, ask them about recent client work, ask for testimonials from current clients, and ask if they can meet your specific communication needs.
Experience & Resources
Second, smaller agencies can give you direct access to their most experienced assets while larger agencies can provide access to more resources. While this isn’t true in every case, it’s common for smaller agencies to build their business around individuals who have the experience and creativity to offer compelling services to their clientele. This is no less true of larger agencies. However, the larger the agency the further away your account tends to get from the seasoned veterans.
It is also worth mentioning that some agencies build their businesses around servicing a particular vertical or business type. For example, some agencies focus on small businesses, others on dentists, ecommerce, multi-location businesses, software companies, etc. There can be benefits and tradeoffs to these specialized marketers.
Niche marketers can take on new clients in their area of specialized service and hit the ground running. They already have a comprehensive understanding of layout of the competitive landscape in your industry. They can also lean on cookie-cutter strategies and tactics in the name of profitability and scale (more on that next), so once again, this is a two-way street.
Processes vs Flexibility
Third, larger agencies may have processes in place that ensure campaign execution while smaller agencies may be more flexible in how they execute a campaign. Processes are essential in business. Processes lend to the scalability of a task or series of tasks. This can be advantageous for work in any digital marketing channel.
However, sometimes rigid processes might not be compatible with your needs as a client. This is where a smaller agency might be a better fit for you. For example, agile and sprint marketing are becoming more common, and some agencies with rigid processes in place might not be a good fit if that’s what you’re looking for.
Ultimately, there is no right answer as to what size agency you should hire for your business. You’ll likely find the best fit for your needs upon a thorough review of your digital marketing needs, a prospective agency partner’s experience in strategy and execution, and the alignment of your teams.