What Is a Boutique Creative Agency and Why Hire One?
Posted at Dec 30, 2019 8:54:00 AM by THAT Agency | Share
A boutique agency in marketing is one that's small and specific. It's often composed of a team of talents that's highly skilled and that works together smoothly and efficiently. A creative agency like this can be far more nimble than larger agencies that rely on multiple teams in multiple locations. A smaller agency will also communicate better, be quicker to try new things, and it will give you a point person with deep knowledge of your needs.
These are agencies that are adept at inbound marketing, content creation, and giving your brand a strong narrative voice. More than anything else, they're exceptionally skilled at building a loyal community around your brand.
Flexibility & Speed
Larger marketing agencies are adept at a number of skills, but they lack the flexibility and attention that allows organizations to truly capture the zeitgeist. A boutique agency adapts quickly to seize the moment. It prioritizes its creative elements without making them jump through hoops. If there's a good idea at hand, it gets done quickly instead of having to pass through a dozen meetings that sap it of its personality and character.
Trying New Things
Trying new things is what a more focused creative agency does. If you want the same old ad that you've seen a hundred times before, anyone can do that. If you want new tie-ins between influencers, storefronts, and remarketing, choose a boutique agency. These agencies are at the forefront of driving new methods and techniques that take full advantage of the changing landscape of online advertising.
Smaller agencies can be much more precise. They offer unique specializations that allow them to dive deep into an industry. They'll offer specialized talents and approaches that can give your marketing strategy an extra gear you didn't know it could have.
A boutique agency will provide you a point person for your marketing strategy. They'll know your business and its marketing needs inside and out. A large agency will spread you across multiple managers who split your account piecemeal. You're one of a number at a large agency, and probably won't even be assigned the managers most suitable for your business and needs.
A small, creative agency will dedicate someone to your business who will be accountable and responsive to you.
A creative agency is one that can churn out content. This leads to effective inbound marketing campaigns. Content gives your site value beyond a storefront and drives your SEO up. A larger agency can provide content, but it's more likely to be generic and less likely to maintain a consistent voice.
Low-quality content doesn't drive return visitors, which is crucial in converting them into a sale. It also doesn't get shared as often on social media. Lacking a consistent voice can undermine the trust visitors have in your brand. Smaller firms dive deeper and put forth the effort to offer unique, knowledgeable, and consistent voices in your content.
A boutique agency focuses on building a community around your brand. Larger marketing firms care less for this – they're involved in creating more traditional campaigns. Traditional campaigns can still be effective but they lose more and more steam when it comes to newer modes of advertising. Using content and social media to build community is a boutique agency's bread and butter. If your site's content is being shared reliably online, that's advertising you don't even pay for. If you can build a community that will do this for you consistently, the foundation of your marketing strategy can develop an incredibly high ROI.
A moderately-sized creative agency will charge you what its work is worth. A larger agency will charge you more because they have more to upkeep. They may offer a famous marketing name, but it's more than likely they're paying outlandishly for the name in return for very little creative involvement. They'll often charge you more for a service because of who they are, yet deliver a more generic version because the work isn't as specialized.
Often what you're paying for with a larger agency is just the agency's name, but customers don't care about the name of your marketing agency. Boutique agencies often get the same or higher-quality work done at a portion of the cost.
Boutique agencies measure their success by your success. Their business relies on yours being successful. They care, they communicate, they won't run you around between five different people who each tell you to talk to the next. They're accountable. When you want a change, they'll endeavor to go above and beyond when implementing that change.
A larger agency can afford to push you off, not respond, handle it next week instead of this one. A larger agency can fail you and still be fine. It can cut the level of support it gives you because you're on a more moderate plan than the big client that needs a major push this month. That's not fair to you. What you're paying for shouldn't be dependent on someone else's marketing push; it's what you pay for.
A boutique agency won't undercut or ignore you. That small agency will view itself as a partner in your marketing strategy. A large one will view you as a customer it can afford to ignore if one with deeper pockets needs its attention.
History of Success
If you hire a large agency with a history of success, are you getting the people who truly were involved in that past success? Chances are slim that you are. You're likely getting spread out across a variety of marketing employees, many of whom have nothing to do with a specific campaign that you admire.
When you hire a small agency that has a history of marketing success or a previous campaign you enjoy, that's the team you get because there is no other team. You're getting the team that really did helm that campaign and achieve that success.
Go to the Source
Who is it that larger agencies go to when they need precision work done quickly? Those larger agencies you pay more for often hire out boutique agencies to develop web sites and create the content that inbound marketing strategies rely upon. You're just charged much more because now there's an intermediary between you and the agency that's doing the work.
This kind of ghostwriting or “white label work” is common. A large agency might feel like it doesn't know your business well enough. Its approach of spreading each client piecemeal between multiple managers and employees bars any of them from getting to know the client well enough to create in-depth content.
If larger agencies are hiring boutique agencies in the first place, and that middle-man is costing you more, why wouldn't you just go to the source and hire the boutique agency? Your experience will be better, the agency will be braver and more accountable, and you'll spend less for work that's more specialized to your marketing needs. If larger agencies go to smaller, more creative agencies for what they can't do and add to your cost in doing it, why not just hire that smaller agency yourself?