For any business, big or small, establishing an effective marketing strategy is perhaps the most integral aspect of maintaining growth and sustainability. In fact, by 2024, the UK is predicted to surpass 27 billion pounds expenditure on advertising alone. As such, putting your faith in the right marketing agency is a very big decision.
Today, the traditional outlook of ‘bigger is better’ is fast becoming a thing of the past, and it’s easy to see why. As the digital, Ecommerce landscape becomes ever more fragmented and complex, smaller, specialised companies can present far more rewarding opportunities to those looking for help marketing their small business. But what exactly is a boutique marketing agency, and how can they help get the best results for your company?
What is a Boutique Marketing Agency?
Put simply, boutique marketing agencies are specialised companies that operate with a smaller, focused team of industry professionals. Usually consolidated to 30 people or less, their team will tailor a marketing campaign to your business’s specific needs. Whereas with large agencies, a smaller business or client may be allocated purely to junior level staff and planners, boutique agencies will have their whole teamwork with you throughout the project’s entire process. As such, working with a boutique marketing agency presents small to medium-sized businesses with a wealth of benefits. Here are just a few.
Boutique agencies understand that every business is different, and as such, do not offer a simple, one-size-fits-all approach. The size and specificity of boutique agencies present businesses with the option of working with multiple boutique firms. A 2016 study by Statista showed that 24% of U.S. based businesses had three separate marketing agencies, closely followed by 23% working with two. So, it seems the old adage of never putting your eggs in one basket is true, even in the world of digital marketing. If you’re unhappy with a specific aspect of your marketing campaign – web design, for example – you can quickly connect with a boutique specialising in web design without impacting your other digital output. Also, the concentration of efficiency with boutique agencies means you could have your new campaign up and running in a matter of days.
The larger the agency, the larger the overheads. WPP Group, for example, currently has over 100,000 with four major offices across the globe. This means that bigger corporations will invariably present their clients with high hourly rates or monthly retainers. Moreover, due to the large amounts of money at play with big agencies, most require that their clients commit to a project for a minimum period of six or more months. Boutique agencies, on the other hand, are able to take on smaller clients for a smaller length of time. All these factors often result in a project running far more efficiently, reducing the costs for businesses looking for help with marketing.
A further benefit of a boutique agency vs in house marketing is individualized attention. Smaller agencies have fewer clients than their larger counterparts which gives them the advantage of being able to focus on each account in a far more detailed and thorough way. If you’re wanting help marketing your business locally, this factor is particularly key. With a more concentrated team of staff, boutique agencies can develop highly specific industry expertise in highly specific digital or geographic markets. For instance, if you want to run a London-centric campaign, a boutique marketing agency in London will likely do a far better job of reaching your target consumers than a larger, global marketing agency.
Larger firms tend to favour traditional ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ methods when helping businesses with their marketing. Relying on time, if they run a campaign that tests well, they will invariably continue to implement that same strategy with any future clients they take on. Boutique agencies, on the other hand, do not have the luxury of time trials. As such, their team will work to create new ideas and strategies for each individual company on their slate. Instead of relying on generic, outdated practices, boutique agencies aren’t afraid to think outside the box. They can bring unique perspectives and develop innovative ways to help market your business.
By the very nature of their size, boutique marketing companies must forge strong working relationships across a range of fields. For example, an advertising agency will have clients that need copywriting, a copywriter will have clients that need web design, and so on. Consequently, it is key for smaller firms to be able to refer their clients to the right people. If you’re looking for help with marketing a small business, boutique agencies can introduce you to a diverse network of highly skilled professionals across the digital landscape. Each one presents itself as a chance to form new relationships and thus expand your company’s reach. Whereas with a larger agency, you are forming a single partnership, boutique agencies can open up a whole world of connections and opportunities moving forward.
Time really is money. All too often, small businesses find themselves having to chase agencies for vital data and developments throughout a marketing campaign, in turn, using up valuable time and resources. With larger agencies managing immensely high turnovers, small to medium-sized businesses can regularly find themselves at the bottom of the ‘to do’ pile. Boutique agencies understand this and strive to develop strong relationships with their clients, maintaining clear and consistent communication throughout the entire process. This more intimate, ‘hands-on’ approach means that more work can be signed off and executed with speed and precision.
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