In a super-sized world, it’s easy to overlook value from smaller scale providers of anything, and advertising services are no exception. When screening agencies with cost-efficiency and value in mind, executives are faced with a need to ensure optimal use of their campaign budgets while strongly differentiating themselves from the competition. So, what size agency is best suited to meet those needs?

There are distinct reasons why in many cases, there may be more value in pursuing an agency in the size range of, say, 100 employees. Without delving too deeply into psychological concepts, “Dunbar’s number” refers to the cognitive ability of an individual to maintain a maximum of 100 close relationships. With relationships that fall within this number come associated “identities,” which lead to more a unified mission, culture and work output. In creative functions, this “identity” eliminates clashes extending or complicating the duration of a project. According to Forbes, “Small agencies are not big enough to lose their identities. The chief founder, usually a creative person, had a strong vision when he or she started the place. And those who now work there have generally bought in completely. In fact, the interactions between the employees and the visionaries is frequent, so the cultural soup is constantly fed visionary nutrients.”

This chief founder persona revolves around someone who didn’t opt to join on to a large established agency, instead choosing to take the risk of starting their own venture—placing everything on the line for their work. This is the type of leadership structure shaping an agency that companies traditionally seek.

Most of the staff of larger agencies are producers and studio workers—all of whom can be outsourced by smaller companies originally lacking these resources in-house. With that in mind, many companies with the potential to expand their workforce do not. As a result, overhead is lowered and the agency can reach new kinds of objectivity. While outsourcing this work, there are a multitude of agencies in the market, ensuring that a best-fit agency can be found.

These facts by no means dismiss the value of a large agency. Many have established themselves as experts and are the most thorough option given certain circumstances. However, as Forbes points out, “when the bottom-line stakes are as high as they've
been the last few years, it’s foolish to immediately dismiss all small agencies out of hand.”

Photo Courtesy Of: New Line Cinema
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Heather Grossmuller

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