Thinking of changing your marketing agency? Don’t go for the easy choice

October 15, 2014

The marketing agency landscape is hugely competitive, a Google image search brings up hundreds of pictures from slide shows scattered with logos of competing businesses. For a brand – whatever their size – it’s become incredibly difficult to pick a partner, let alone the right partner.

In actual fact, the landscape isn’t as complicated as it may seem, the six big holding companies account for over 100 agencies. M&M Global even publishes an annual infographic to detail which agency sits under which umbrella company. Of course there are huge benefits to working with a global behemoth, and these business nurture some of the best talent in ad land. But in a world that’s changing exponentially, are these giant corporations nimble enough to ensure they’re keeping up with the times?

Having working in independent agencies then in house for a global marketing technology provider and back to an independent agency, I have a few opinions of my own. First and foremost, the independent agency is hungry for success! They have to be to stay motivated, focused and profitable, and they have to be lean. When investing in an agency a brand needs to see the value otherwise what’s the point, independent agencies strive to prove their worth and are ambitious – it’s the entire ethos and mind-set a smaller company. That entrepreneurial spirit that you just won’t get with a corporate.

An independent can’t afford to waste time; they have to be efficient and streamlined in order to deliver for clients.  And that means the staff have nowhere to hide. 

They have to innovate; it’s the major perk of working for and with an independent agency.  Small offices, manageable numbers of staff and enthusiastic employees means independent agencies are nimble.  They can quickly adopt new technology, bring staff up to speed on new initiatives and manoeuvre to ensure clients are seeing the latest innovations as soon as they’re available.  The lack of red tape is incredibly attractive for employees and clients alike.

That’s not to say an independent will suit any brand, but they shouldn’t be dismissed because a major player has shinier offices, bigger teams and a lot of swagger.  It’s a safe bet and easier internal sell to punt for the big boys, but you could get much more reward with the work hungry, entrepreneurial independent. 

Sophie Mackenzie - Account Director