Working with a small agency

The benefits of working with a small agency.
Philip Jones
Created on:
June 18, 2024

Small media buying agencies with big ideas

Why do the best things come in small packages?

Clients often miss out on top-class talent because pitch consultants and clients alike fail to consider appointing smaller media agencies.

As a director  of one of those smaller media agencies, I believe that a pair of small hands can be a better, and even safer, bet than a pair of bigger hands.

I should clarify that when I refer to a "small media agency", I’m talking about an agency employing well under 100 people.  A Dunbar number  defines the optimum workforce as the suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships.

So what are the benefits, as I see them, of a small agency?

Unique and compelling cultures

Small agencies have not lost their identity. As a joint founder in 2002, I can still remember that strong vision my business partner and I had when we started our media buying agency in Edinburgh, and we still believe in that same vision today.

The interactions between our employees and us are frequent and close, and we ensure we are highly accessible, so the cultural broth is constantly developing and improving in-house.

Small agencies believe everything is possible: there is no such word as can’t…

Think about this. What you want is a committed contributor to your team. Someone who’ll go above and beyond the call of duty and make a real difference to your product – an entrepreneur,  if you like.

Starting up a company requires entrepreneurial skill.  In a small agency, you have people who are willing to put your brand/product first, as their allegiance is not diluted by myriad other campaigns running simultaneously.

What about volume?

When we started in 2002, having previously worked in a large media agency group, impact on buying rate was a consideration – even a concern – for us, as we thought that replication of rate would be difficult.

However, as it transpired, we need not have worried, as delivering lower rates than a large group is the norm. To date, all small media agencies I know have experienced this. When you think about it, it makes logical and mathematical sense.

Commodity buying of media is frankly easy, isn’t it? Pile it high, buy it cheap?

However thought, planning and innovation, now that’s a completely different matter. And smaller agencies deliver all three in abundance.

Smaller agencies offer better service

If you use a big agency employing 500 people, that does not mean all 500 people are focused on your business. In fact, just ten of those people are probably involved with your business – and that’s if you’re lucky…

In a small media buying agency, the number of people focusing on your product will be the same, but that number will often include the founders working on your business as well. Believe me any account for a small agency, will have the founders all over it.

Big ideas come from small agencies

Ideas are what matter most to businesses. The better the idea, in short, the safer the bet. However, big ideas are not necessarily the preserve of big agencies. Indeed, an innovative idea generated by a stellar small agency might just be the big idea destined to launch your product into orbit.

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