Gone are the days when large enterprises would only work with giant advertising and creative agencies. Today, small agencies—those of around 40 people or fewer—are winning big-name accounts and cool projects far more often. And the trend is forecast to continue.
RSW/US is a business development group for marketing services firms. In its 2016 New Year Outlook Survey, RSW/US found that 74% of marketers report having more than two agencies, and 17% use more than five agency partners. That’s great news for smaller agencies because more of the work is being spread around, giving them more opportunities to work in specific areas of expertise and get a foot in the door for more work down the road.
Here are five ways in which your agency can compete—and win—portfolio-enhancing accounts.
- Be an expert at something. Big agencies have a breadth of experience but often lack the ability to “go deep” into a specific industry or product category. Today, industry, audience, channel, or product expertise is more important than being a full-service agency that can do everything. Brands are building rosters of experts, so figure out your organization’s strength(s), build on it, and promote it. Influence & Co. is an agency specializing in content marketing. They help clients create content marketing strategies, get published where it matters, and create custom premium content. By focusing on content marketing, they’ve worked with leading clients and been named #1 Company Dominating Content Marketing by Inc.
- Be yourself. A growing number of large enterprise clients don’t want to look or sound like a giant corporation. They’re looking at smaller agencies for outside-the-box thinking and innovation. Small agencies can help big brands with new perspectives, processes, and approaches because they themselves aren’t tangled up in big-company bureaucracy. If you have an agency portfolio, publish it and share it through social design channels like behance or dribbble. Your creative wins may be the inspiration that locks in your next big client.
- Be nimble and unafraid of small beginnings. Win creds by pitching small, one-off, well-defined projects and executing them well. Large brands want agencies that can respond quickly to their needs—especially the hair-on-fire, CEO-needs-it-this week projects that a large corporate team or huge agency can’t possibly turn around in time, let alone with creativity. Agility pays off in attracting more work from the client, because you can be counted on to deliver.
- Be geographically flexible. When you’re known for specific expertise, geography won’t limit your opportunities. With remote work-at-home growth reaching over 115% since 2005, remote working relationships are now the norm, and brands don’t have to be geographically close to manage their agency relationships. With good team project management tools, your teams can collaborate efficiently among themselves and with clients—regardless of where they’re located—in real time to move projects forward on time and within budget.
- Aim to excel. Large agencies often delegate projects to their “B” teams when the work is won or when the client doesn’t have a high-profile project to complete. As a small agency, your entire team IS the “A” team. Without tiers of management staff, you have the ability to quickly make decisions and adjustments to ensure that the client experience is as easy, friendly and rewarding as possible.
Great small agencies help their clients win market share, beat competitors, and achieve other brand goals with results that are exponentially more impressive than their size. Greatness comes from your creative teams and also from the ability to deliver great thinking quickly, easily and impressively.
Project management and collaboration solutions also can help you achieve big results with a small team. Redbooth can help you foster the genius of internal teams, accelerate results and agility, and span geographical distances with clients.
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