Large vs. Small Digital Marketing Companies: Which Is Right For My Business?

December 15, 2016
Brendan Egan

Are you ready to hire a digital marketing company? One simple Google search will show you just how many options there are out there, but how do you know which company is right for you? The first decision you have to make is whether you want to work with a large or small company. Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons of each to help you decide:

Larger companies have more resources

The larger the company, the larger their revenue stream, which means they should have more resources in-house to take care of your needs. For example, a larger digital marketing agency may have a team of web developers to help you build the website, SEO experts to improve your ranking, conversion optimization specialists to motivate customers to follow through with a transaction, and data analysts to show you how all of the pieces have come together. Having all of these resources in one place is certainly beneficial to a brand looking for a full-service agency. This is especially important if you are trying to build a huge website since you will need a lot of manpower to get the job done.

Smaller companies are more attentive

Even though larger companies have a bigger team for you to work with, you will not experience the same level of customer service with a large company that you will with a smaller one. If you choose to work with a larger company, you may be assigned to an account manager who is supposed to be your go-to person when you have questions or concerns. But, you’ll soon find out you are not the only brand who has been assigned to this account manager—in fact, she could be working with dozens of other brands that all have the same wants and needs as you. This means your account manager may not have as much time to spend with you as an account manager at a smaller firm. If you value responsiveness and attentiveness, a small digital marketing company is the right choice for you.

Larger companies may have been there, done that

Because larger companies have a longer client list, they may have experience with a variety of different digital marketing tactics. This could mean they have insight into what works and what doesn’t, so they won’t waste any time or money on tactics they know are not effective from their prior experience.

However, this is not to say that employees at smaller agencies have no experience. In fact, many employees often leave large agencies to work with smaller ones, thus taking their years of experience with them. If you want to work with a smaller agency, you just have to do your research to ensure the smaller agency you have chosen has a strong portfolio.

Smaller companies are flexible

Do you have a last minute change that you would like your digital marketing agency to make to your website? Or perhaps you’d like to schedule a quick call to get clarification on something your account manager has relayed to you? In either of these situations, you may find a larger company is not as willing to work with your requests as much as a smaller company would. Smaller companies tend to value each client more simply because they do not have a huge client list. In order to keep clients happy, they are willing to shorten deadlines or make last minute changes if needed. Working with a flexible company is especially important if this is your first time hiring a digital marketing agency. It takes a bit of time to understand all of their services and get on board with their vision, and you may change your mind a number of times as you learn more about the process. You will need a team who is willing to be flexible and work with you along the way.

Smaller companies take risks

Larger digital marketing companies tend to have a stuffy, corporate atmosphere while smaller agencies are more laid-back with an employee-centric culture. How does this impact your digital marketing strategy? A company’s culture can either encourage or stifle creativity and innovation. If employees feel valued and are motivated to share ideas and brainstorm together, they will come up with more innovative, risky ideas for their clients. This type of attitude is welcome at smaller digital marketing companies, but may not be at larger companies.

Plus, if the digital marketing company has a reputation of having a strong company culture, talented employees will be drawn to apply there. Ninety-five percent of today’s workforce says that culture is more important than compensation when choosing a place to work. This means smaller agencies that are known as innovative, open-minded companies will attract talent that large agencies will not be able to compete with. If you want your digital marketing team to think outside the box and find ways to differentiate your brand from competitors, trust a small marketing agency to do so.

Larger companies may cost more

A smaller company does not have nearly as many expenses as a larger company, so they are often able to offer their clients lower prices than their competitors. Remember, larger companies have to pay employees’ salaries, benefits, and expenses associated with operating a big office. Smaller companies have a fraction of these operating expenses, so they don’t have to charge as much to make a profit.

Ultimately, the decision is up to you, but the benefits of working with smaller marketing agencies have not gone unnoticed over the years. Both AdAge and Forbes have argued in favor of smaller advertising agencies for many of the same reasons listed above. Although the appeal of working with a larger, well-known digital marketing agency may be hard to resist, choosing a smaller company may be the best decision for your business.





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