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What Exactly is a Boutique Marketing Firm?

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Picture the typical marketing agency. Chances are it’s a larger firm with hundreds, maybe thousands of employees working to promote a plethora of businesses. There’s probably is a structured hierarchy, complete with various teams, departments and specific processes that are followed.

Then there’s the boutique marketing firm. These firms are a smaller, select group of talented individuals who all work together toward the same goal—satisfied customers. But what exactly is a boutique firm, and how can it be more beneficial than typical marketing agencies? 

The Communication Style

Communication between client and agency is vital to marketing project success. As the client, you need to be able to communicate with at least one individual within the agency to express your goals and give feedback on any marketing collateral. As the agency, you need to be able to discuss ideas with the client and clarify any questions your design team may have.

If you work with a marketing firm under the larger agency model, you are assigned an account executive. This individual will be, in essence, the “gatekeeper” for any communication you have with all members working on your project. Forget picking up the phone and speaking directly to the designer or copywriter. When you contact a typical marketing agency, you’ll most likely speak with your one and only account manager, who then communicates internally with the individuals working on your account and reports back to you.

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When you contact a boutique firm, you may talk to your account manager, designer and other employees all in the same day. Unlike large marketing agencies, boutique agencies focus primarily on developing materials with highly personalized service. In most cases, several team members, if not all, will come together to work on a project. One-on-one discussions between multiple team members and client ensure everyone is on the same page.

Rather than having an account manager relay information between designer and client, a boutique marketing model allows for direct communication, which can improve the efficiency of the project 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. Consider how there are benefits to agencies with both large offices and staff as well as small. In fact, sometimes a smaller boutique-style firm may be better, even if you’re a large corporation.

The staff of a large agency is considerably larger than that of a boutique marketing firm. Each member of a large agency staff is specialized in what they do, and that is the only job they do. This means that when you work with a large agency, your account manager will assemble a team of highly specialized individuals to work on your account.

Are you looking for some infographics for social media? Chances are you’ll have a designer that only works to build infographics working on your account. If you’re looking for print collateral, you’ll most likely have a designer that only works in designing print materials.

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The staff in a boutique firm may be smaller, but they are still more than able to produce full service marketing work efficiently and cost-effectively. Smaller agencies are the perfect choice for conceptualizing and developing brand and marketing materials. The people who comprise the team at a boutique firm are qualified, seasoned creatives, all of whom wear multiple hats.

Boutique staff, like large agency staff, are often split into account and design teams; however, because there are fewer staff resources, members of each team are specialized in several marketing strategies and design techniques. A boutique agency provides the same services as a large agency—print, online and digital design, as well as conceptual and messaging for a variety of marketing, advertising and branding needs.

Because of it’s smaller size, a boutique marketing firm has the time to get to know clients as people, not just companies. The end result is much more in-depth conversation about strategy, a strong agency-client relationship and more individualized marketing collateral.

Deciding on a Marketing Firm

When it comes to choosing the right marketing firm for your business, like most marketing decisions, one option isn’t better than the other because it depends on your business’s needs. The right marketing firm needs to fit with your business’s brand, goals, vision and values. As the main point of contact for your business, start by considering the communication styles you like best.

A larger agency will have an account manager develop a relationship with you, get to know your business and communicate your brand to several designers who work on each project. At a boutique agency, you’ll work with the same team of designers for each project, meaning not only does your account manager learn about your brand, but the designers also get to know your business for future projects as well.

Take time to evaluate your marketing priorities and find the agency style that will provide the most benefit to your company. Don’t be afraid to search for an agency that matches your values either. You’ll need to get along with the teams you’re working with in order to create successful marketing materials. All in all, it’s all about finding what works for you.

Want to learn more about how a boutique marketing firm can help you? Contact us for a consultation!