Why Big Brands Hire Small Boutique Agencies and Consultants
Innovation. Ugh? Or Yes, please!? How many calls and meetings have we been on and in when the [considered] blasé word “innovation” has been thrown around for the next big initiative? Too many to count. And most likely during a good solid “death by PowerPoint” session around a big table, a white board, and a projector. Or better yet in a conference call similarly productive to one of our faves Tripp and Tyler. As consultants we just love a good conference call video!
However, while overused and misused in communication and presentation, innovation is an important quality for your employees, contractors, brand, and business practice to have.
Sometimes it’s just better in smaller packages.
Rarely do brands expect to see this in companies that look similar to their own in terms of size and structure. This is where us smaller, outside partners, come in handy as hell, specifically for different process and industry perspectives and approaches!
This isn’t a new phenomenon, but one that is getting more robust like an aerated cabernet. Brands are working with smaller agencies and consultants like us to gain new thinking and new energy into the mix, without the overhead of 401k’s, Leave of Absence, and Health Insurance!
“We have worked with agencies of all sizes and what we have found is that smaller agencies and consultants like Bound-by Marketing tend to become your marketing team and family– they become ingrained in your company’s DNA,” said Senior Managing Partner, Steve Soper of AdaptivEdge.
“They are more interested in your business and helping it evolve and grow than they are interested in using it as a vessel for awards and accolades. And yet they are the ones that have created the most compelling and effective creative programs we have seen.”
There are a few wants that these brands can leverage with a small agency and consultant.
1) Client brands need consultants and partners for smaller, project-based work.
Brands are looking to capitalize on one-on-one communication and more streamlined processes, rather than mass broadcasting and huge deadlines—large agencies typically work on larger campaigns that require longer turnaround times. In comes the small-guy again to save the day for smaller, project-based work.
This creates more opportunity for smaller guys (and gals) to pitch and win more tightly defined, one-off projects, and if done well, to leverage this initial project into more work with the brand. But that requires that us small guys become experts in properly scoping projects and managing those projects. Repeatable, efficient processes can be used to meet tight deadlines and make this work profitable for both sides of the table.
2) Clients want specialists.
Because of the project-based mentality, clients want to hire the very best – boutique agencies and consultants that have expertise in a specific service, industry, audience, channel, etc. These brands aren’t hindered by location nor do they need the proximity to better manage a relationship. And due to the smaller project commitment, they don’t want to spend the time training and educating a partner on the specifics of their industry or audience.
3) Clients want results—faster.
Bigger oftentimes means more processes, more approvals, more levels of authority, and more potential roadblocks.
Clients who want to move fast — and already have to deal with their own frustrating bureaucratic organizations — are looking for more nimble partners. They don’t want a partner that only doubles the amount of red tape they have to fight through on a daily basis. This is a huge bonus for leveraging a smaller agency or consultant. Nimble and quick!
If you’re a smart organization trying to re-steer the titanic from hitting an iceberg, you would want a speedboat, not a bloated cruise liner to help guide you. They want an agency or consultant that can quickly respond to their needs while maintaining creativity and flexibility, while keeping the floatation devices at bay.
Companies that engage agencies and consultants that have adopted a more lean or Agile approach to creating and launching campaigns and programs, along with methods for testing and optimizing, will help lessen the piles of paperwork during the project process.
4) Clients are looking for strategy and tactics.
A flat organization, where our most talented team members both lead and work on the business, is key to nimble and quick agencies and consultants. Once the strategy is completed and the project has been won, the work shouldn’t be relegated to less experienced team members. Clients need partners that are both strategic and tactical who also provides high-level talent to drive the work.
5) We all care about culture.
Clients and agencies want to work with people who enjoy their work and are advocates for their company, their business, and their culture. One of the things that is so important to the culture here at Bound-by Marketing is the fact that we embrace flexibility and the home office!
We always discuss our model in our sales process and throughout our working relationship(s) no matter how long or short. This discussion reveals what both sides really care about and what perspective they bring to the relationship.
In addition, working with a smaller team or a team with a great culture creates a different type of relationship with the client. One that is open and honest and embraces the flexibility of life outside of the cube.