When Choosing An Ad Agency, Don't Consider Size; Consider Collaboration

September 1, 2011 by Kevin Michael Gray

The debate between big advertising agencies and small agencies goes on. A spate of recent articles and op-eds has agencies big and small continuing to take pot shots at one another. We found this great article on Fast Company's blog this week.  Read below:


Since I recently left a large agency to start a company called Co Collective, it is often assumed that we don't believe in big agencies or their ability to succeed in the future. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Marketers are telling us that success in the future has nothing to do with big or small--that the winners and losers today, and in the future, will be determined by a different metric: collaborative vs. non-collaborative.

What clients really want: collaboration

At the end of the day, as an industry, all our clients care about is this: Can we help them solve problems? Can we do it quickly? And can we do it for less money than we did last year (because our clients have to do what they do for less money than they did last year). We believe that big agencies that get good at collaborating with other disciplines and specialist experts have a hugely bright future. Those that don’t will get small, and some will get gone, just as they always have when they get out of step with contemporary business reality. It is the circle of life. Smaller agencies and specialist experts probably have a bit of a leg up in this regard today because it is already clear to many of them that in this new world they MUST work together to “git ‘er done.” But big, global clients need organizations of scale. Big can be very beautiful.

The future is bright, big or small

For the big agency networks, figuring out how to think of themselves as large, curated crowds and finding ways to incentivize collaborative behavior across cultures and time zones is an inspiring challenge, and something that only they can figure out. For smaller companies with specialist expertise, finding ways to combine forces more effectively will allow them greater access to the strategic process earlier, where their thinking is sorely needed.

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