There are advantages and disadvantages to both, but given that we have managed to carry out many successful digital marketing projects with a small and agile team, we understandably lean towards the benefits of smaller agencies.
The problems with a big digital agency
Large digital agencies are often living on the edge. No matter how well they’re doing or how good results may look, they're constantly looking to maintain results while they come under the watchful eye of Google.
This applies mostly in regard to search marketing and Pay Per Click; the modern digital agency has to do everything it can to stay on Google’s good side. That can be a very good and a very bad thing. Good, because if you do it right and keep running a long-term ethical search campaign, then the rewards - especially for brand exposure - can be immense.
Bad, because Google can change things on a whim. Speaking from experience; we know of a number of digital agencies in the region who have had campaigns they have done for clients completely implode because of the introduction of Google’s Panda, Penguin or Hummingbird algorithms.
However the impact could have been very small or non-existent had they chosen to follow Google’s rules and optimised ethically and organically. Maybe it's unfair to only highlight larger agencies role in such issues, as there may well be smaller digital agencies who also cut corners, but the additional spotlight is definitely an issue for larger agencies.
Lost in the shuffle
There are other problems that are synonymous with signing up to a large digital agency; the biggest being that your company can sometimes be just another number amongst many, with the strategy nothing more than a basic package to justify a monthly retainer.
There is nothing wrong with being on a monthly retainer; we offer a range of personalised options ourselves! That said, from our experience of larger companies with many clients, it largely becomes about delegation. Delegation toward social media executives, account managers, content creators, programmers, web developers, designers, and often many more.
It’s quite possible that the work on your account will become a run-of-the-mill chore for somebody down the production line who has little experience of you or your brand. If you are not one of their 'big fish' then you will be fit in between one account requirement and another. Results may be OK, but they're unlikely to capture the essence of your original vision.
The advantages of a small digital agency
Smaller teams may have fewer clients, but many specialists within smaller agencies have gained their knowledge and experience at bigger agencies, before moving to smaller teams to produce personalised marketing strategies that resonate with clients and audiences.
Smaller creative and digital agencies often have plenty to gain, with staff who are typically more passionate about projects and more at-hand when you have queries or questions to raise about the progress of your campaign.
Your account is in the hands of creatives who are almost as passionate about your business as you, as the progress of their agency depends on the success of their clients. They don’t see you simply as a monthly retainer with a set amount of tasks to complete. Your success is their success; the better they do for you, the greater the reward for all concerned.
Smaller marketing firms can also be more cost-effective, but that doesn’t mean the degree of service will be any different. You’re not just another client or a number with a smaller agency, rather, your project is something to be invested in as they do everything in their power to make your brand the best it can be online.