Small vs. Big is no contest.

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My partner and I just made a business call on one of the largest marketers in the country. We had 15 minutes scheduled to show them why we should be considered as an alternative to their conglomerate “agency of record.” Two hours later we left with smiles on our faces. It seems they saw all of the advantages of what their large agency provides without all of the baggage.

The reaction by this and other large-budget advertisers we contact is no surprise to us. The small agency is coming into its own with as increasing numbers of large marketers shift, or even eliminate, their relationships with the holding company behemoth agencies that have dominated the industry for the last two decades.

I can understand why so many creatives are bailing out of these constricting bureaucracies to open their own small shops. It's a trend we're going to be seeing a lot more of in this new age in which creative ideas are all that really matter. So in the future the golden child of advertising will be the small agency. Selling the benefits of taking business to a small agency is fairly easy for large company marketing directors. Why? Let me count the ways.

1. Small agencies are small and nimble enough to respond rapidly to the real needs of a marketer in a business world that now operates on Internet time. They can move sideways quickly and often break the "rules" in a manner that advances the brand's interests.

2. Savvy clients can appreciative of an effort that breaks the rules and provides them with a new edge. They recognize the real value of good work.

3. Politics in small agencies are minimal and eat up far smaller amounts of energy and focus. This invisible reality directly serves the client's interests.

4. Small projects from big name clients are adrenaline boosts for small agency personnel. They give special attention and enthusiasm because it offers them the chance to spread their wings and fly with something that has national brand name recognition.

5. Large agencies move slowly. Small agencies move fast. These assignments are usually under-the-radar and don't have layers of approval that large clients typically have to contend with. When the large, agency-of-record gets a job of any kind the efficiency opportunities go down the tube.

6. Small agencies have less to lose when we offer edgy thinking. Great advertising only happens when you take risks. When you have to answer to fickle stockholders you’re not going to be in a risk-taking mood. Small agencies don't have to deal with a holding company that has no experience in advertising and doesn’t care to learn.

The new world for large advertisers is one of choice. Advertising agencies have finally embraced this reality. In fact to recover some of their lost revenue some larger agencies have started small agencies to siphon their client’s smaller projects to. Of course I would encourage their clients to select a small agency that doesn’t have an umbilical cord. Namely us.
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