Why you should hire a boutique agency instead of a large creative agency

By October 3, 2017 May 24th, 2021 No Comments

Are you asking yourself if you should be hiring a small company/freelancer or a large agency for your project? Before we get into that, let’s define the two. A boutique agency (like Hello Pomelo) is a small creative agency that focuses on specialized work for a small client pool. They’re unlikely to be working with big brand names like Nike, Microsoft etc. A large creative agency would have a huge payroll, they’re a one-stop solution for all the services you need including digital advertising and SEO. They’ll have junior designers, senior designers, programmers, creative directors, account managers, project managers.

Boutique agencies tend to be more specific in their work, choosing to specialize on what they do best whereas large agencies do anything and everything, favouring volume and broader marketing approaches. Oftentimes (and I can personally confirm this, based on the requests I’ve received), large agencies are outsourcing their 5-figure projects to people like me for a much cheaper cost. So who is paying the difference in cost for the same quality of work they would expect from engaging me directly? The client of course. Oftentimes, the client never knows that their work has been outsourced to people like me, because the project manager acts as the middleman between the two parties.

Back to the question then. Why is a boutique agency better compared to a large creative agency?

Many articles suggest why big brands should really consider smaller agencies to do their work.

1. Smaller overhead means cheaper projects

Operating at a small scale, boutique agencies have a small overhead. Large agencies have a payroll they have to commit to every month, plus a big spacious office to pay rent for. All this extra overhead cost gets transferred to the client’s project.

2. Large number of employees doesn’t mean they’re all working on your project

You may think that a company with 100 people would produce better work than a company with <5. That can be further from the truth. Just because they have 150 employees, it doesn’t mean that all 150 will be working on your project. Oftentimes, you’ll first meet with the sales guy. Once you accepts his proposal, a few people you have never met will be assigned to your project, for example: 1 Project Manager, 1 Designer and 1 Developer. Big agencies tend to funnel work to individual employees, like a big production-line in a factory. A designer designs, and a programmer codes what he designed. Think about it…Would you place your project to be built on an assembly line?

3. Individualized and personalized experience

If this is important to you, then boutique agencies are definitely the choice. You get to talk to your designer and developer personally, instead of having your project passed around different teams. Oftentimes (as in my case), I am not only the director, but also your designer and developer. What this means is turn-around times are much faster, as instructions are not being passed around the line.

4. Boutique agencies are built on reputation

A smaller agency or professional is constantly working on building their reputation and portfolio, which means satisfying every client is more important than ever. Our work ethics are different, we’re not clocking in a 9-5pm day or closing a project ASAP – we’re making sure that every client gets a website that everyone is proud of.

5. Big companies are rigid, smaller companies are flexible

Smaller companies are more likely to be flexible compared to larger companies, where lower-level employees require following the Standard Operating Protocol, or require the green light from the bosses in order to do something.

6. Subject matter expertise

Smaller firms tend to focus on what they do best, and not spread themselves too thin. It is not uncommon for an SEO agency to provide web design services to complement their own main service. Whereas an SEO agency would be amazing at doing SEO, they probably have a really small team to do fast and quick websites for clients (so they can get their SEO started). The focus will never be on the design of the website, but the SEO service afterwards. The result would be a run-of-the-mill, fast & quick job for something so important to your business – the first online impression you will ever make to customers. In our mobile-centric society, how can that be just done quickly and cheaply?

Other benefits of working with a small agency

  1. The person that pitches the project, meets up with you to discuss ideas is the same person that is going to work on your project.
  2. You get direct access to the director/CEO.
  3. A personal experience, tailored to your needs.
  4. Faster turnaround, especially in terms of changes, emails etc.
  5. Lower costs, no large overheads passed on to the client.

Do you think you’re ready to start your project with us? Drop me a note and let’s discuss!