Small Agencies

Small Agencies Debate Whether Project Work Pays

By Ad Age Staff Published on .

At Ad Age's small agency conference, a number of panelists espoused the view that project work is welcome at their agencies.

The trend over the past few years has been for large agencies to eschew project work, which they believe diminishes their prospects of establishing agency of record relationships. But small agencies had several reasons why project work can benefit a smaller shop.

One key reason is small agencies find it is financially easier for them than it is for a large multinational agency to take on multiple projects. Amy Cotteleer, founder and chief creative officer at A2G, said that as wonderful as retainer clients can be for things like predictable cash flow, project work also allows for more efficiency and even more creativity. She added having multiple projects means that shops depend less on two big retainer clients, the loss of which can be devastating.

"The cost of acquisition of projects is so much lower," noted Greg March, CEO of Noble People.

Agencies, of course, need to make sure they have enough projects coming in to remain financially stable. "As long as there's a critical mass of projects coming in ... it keeps it interesting for people who work for your agency," said Jeremy Crisp, managing partner at Nail Communications.

But Sandy Greenberg, co-founder and co-president at Terri & Sandy, took a different point of view. Her agency asked the potential client whether they would have to keep pitching in the future even if they won this time, enduring an endless run of jump balls for work. The marketer said yes, she said. "There is a side to the word 'project; that is of less value to the agencies."

If you are looking for an agency to help your brand with a project or to retain as an agency of record, LookBook can help.

Most Popular