How can a small agency compete with the larger agencies?

How can a small agency compete with the larger agencies?

It’s a great question, how can a small agency compete with the larger agencies? It’s important to understand the benefits to the client for using a smaller agency over the larger ones. These below benefits are great to keep in mind when you meet with potential clients.

The Client deals with the principals –  The client is not being shuffled around a never-ending ladder of relationship managers, accounts managers and account assistants. In a small agency – especially the large ones – the client is dealing directly with the decision-makers, the owners, the managers and the creative team. This is a huge advantage, as they feel way more comfortable in a tight-knit relationship.

More faster – Sometimes that’s all a client requires. Because your team is smaller and your process is more stream lined, you can finish the project in half the time of a larger agency – and without sacrificing the quality. Having the ability to turn things around much quicker is a huge selling point for smaller design agencies.

More flexible – At a larger agency, the majority of staff are usually production-side; they’re either in the studio or managing the studio. At a smaller agency, there is a lot more flexibility with the staff. There is no need to staff the entire project in-house – you can hire sub contractors, which means you can take on projects outside of your scope by putting together a more flexible team of experts. This flexibility can also extend into other areas – one example is, you can have employees work virtually, which means you can expand your reach into geographical areas without the need for a studio space.

Better with technology –  Small agencies are leading the way in areas like mobile apps and animation, because they’re able to experiment and try new things, where a larger agency may find it difficult adopting new technologies,

More cost effective – This doesn’t mean you’re cheap, or you don’t produce quality work. It means that because you’re smaller, you employ less people, you have less overheads, and this is reflected in your price. And for many of us, price is usually the deciding factor.

How can a small agency compete with the larger agencies?

Here are a few ideas on how a small agency can market themselves and compete with the larger ones.

Choose a Niche: Many smaller agencies discover their success through honing in on a niche, whether that be website development, branding or corporate identity. With a niche you can focus your attention on dominating one specific market, it’s easier to win larger clients in your niche if you can demonstrate your expertise in their area.

Networking Locally : Don’t forget the amount of business you can acquire in your area. As a smaller agency, you are instantly more approachable to the SME’s who often attend networking events as opposed to the larger agencies. Make sure you do join networking groups.

Combine Forces: A powerful way way to leverage networking relationships and get one-up on the larger agencies is to join forces with other smaller agencies to offer the same range of services but as a larger agency, and without the big price tag. If you’re a graphic design agency, you could partner with a strategic content agency to create monthly content packages for clients. That way your clients get a great deal and both your agencies benefit and possibly even get steady work.

Sell the big fish: the client is a big fish in a small sea. They’ll be getting personal attention from the agency directors, especially if they’re a big account. This is a huge advantage for the client, who loves feeling like the agency is simply an extension of their company.

Pitch: When a pitch goes out, don’t think that the larger agency will automatically win it and say, “We’ll never get that.” You don’t know until you try. Big brands choose small agencies some times if they feel they’re a great fit for their brand. Never say ‘no’ to a pitch – if the opportunity arises and you think your agency would be a good fit, then why not go for it!

Hire the best people: Creative talent are usually drawn to smaller agencies, and this is because they have more freedom to experiment, and take ownership of amazing and exciting projects. Work to build a top team, and build that team through constant development.

Brand as experts: If a client sees you as THE agency to call, then they’re not even going to waste time and LOOK at another agency.

If you’re seen as the expert in your industry, customers will flock to you because they see you as someone who has the answers, and even more importantly someone who can be trusted. The question you are thinking is how do you brand your agency as the expert? By publishing articles on your website, appearing on podcasts, writing for well-known blogs in your industry, and speaking at events will show people that you are a thought-leader in your space.

Small agencies offer better advantages to clients, and with a little ingenuity and creativity (two things a design agency should be famous), a small agency can WIN against the larger agencies.

To find out more how DesignLab can help with your project contact Spiros here.