THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FULL AGENCY AND BOUTIQUE AGENCY
The typical marketing agency employs hundreds of employees working in siloed teams assigned to one or two clients. Each team follows a structured hierarchy and specific processes, no matter what account they are working on.
The boutique agency employs a smaller, select group of talented individuals who all work together toward the same goal—satisfied customers. But what exactly is a boutique agency, and how can it be more beneficial than a typical “full service” marketing agency?
THE COMMUNICATION STYLE
Communication between client and agency is vital to strategic marketing success. You, the client, need to feel confident that you can express your goals, desires and opinions to the agency. It is important that the agency takes the time to discuss ideas with you and clarify any questions the creative team may have before their “pencil hits the paper.”
If you work with a firm that falls under the larger agency model, you are assigned an account executive. This individual is, in essence, the “gatekeeper” for any information that needs to be shared with the team working on your account. You rarely get to meet all the individuals assigned to your account, much less know how experienced they are. You don’t know if you’re getting their “A” team or not! Forget picking up the phone and speaking directly to the designer or copywriter. When you work with a typical large marketing agency, you’ll most likely speak only with your delegated account manager, who then communicates internally with the “team” assigned to your account (whether they want to be, or not) and reports back to you.
When you work with a boutique agency, you not only deal with your main account point person, but also with all the other members of the team. When you meet and interact with everyone from the designer to the project coordinator, it benefits everyone. You can communicate likes/dislikes directly to the creative team. The agency, in turn, forms a close working relationship with you, the client. Unlike large marketing firms, boutique agencies focus primarily on developing materials with highly personalized service. More often than not, several, or all members of a boutique firm will be involved with every account in the shop in one way or another. One-on-one discussions between multiple team members and the clients ensure everyone is on the same page throughout the entire process, alleviating disappointing “surprises” on the day of the pitch.
Rather than having an account manager relay information between the design team and the client, a boutique agency model allows for direct communication, which improves project efficiency and client satisfaction.
OFFICE AND STAFF SIZE DOESN’T ALWAYS MATTER
We’ve grown into a society where bigger always seems to be better. When it comes to your marketing agency, this doesn’t need to be your mantra. Sometimes a smaller, more flexible and agile boutique-style firm may be better, even if you’re a large corporation.
The staff in a boutique agency may be smaller, but they are still more than able to provide dynamic full-service marketing solutions efficiently and cost-effectively. These firms are the perfect choice for conceptualizing and developing branding and marketing materials. The people who comprise the team at a boutique firm are qualified, seasoned creatives who, more than often wear multiple hats.
Because of its smaller size, a boutique marketing firm has the time to get to know clients as people, not just companies. The pay-off is much more in-depth conversation about strategy, a strong agency-client relationship and more individualized branding and marketing solutions.
DECIDING ON A MARKETING FIRM
When it comes to choosing the right marketing firm for your business, consider not only your business’s brand, goals, vision and values, but the communication style you feel most comfortable with.
Take time to evaluate your marketing priorities and find the agency style that will provide the most benefit to your company. Want to learn more about how a boutique marketing firm can help you? Contact us for a consultation!