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Discussing “Agency Size”: the Pink Elephant in the Room which is LONG OVERDUE

By Steve Deitsch | Tue, September 13, 2016

Agency Size: the Pink ElephantStop the PR and spin being used to baffle and confuse clients that the size of the agency is an effective tool to compare agencies and potential outcomes!  Most people who read this will be outraged, as vast sums of energy, time, money and rationale have been spent to craft and define how to separate agencies -- namely, self-serving terms such as: large, multinational vs. medium vs. the most colorful descriptor - "the boutique".

With PhD's in the obvious aplenty in our field, it is pretty clear we have to make the best case for "why to hire us" and size both being big and small seems to dominate and overshadow what might be more valuable criteria to compare agency selection.  Apparently size does matter!  Sometimes small, medium or large?

Let's be honest and let clients know that size plays a relatively small role at best in how effective our results are for clients and if we are ultimately going to meet and hopefully exceed our clients goals!

Success is determined by:

  1. People (quality of talent and not quantity)
  2. Accessibility to the talent 
  3. Quality of the client/agency partnership or relationship

Biggest Myth/Farce of the multinational/"full service"/large agency pr firm -- While some boast the most  offices and some the most people and some the most revenue, none can step up to the plate and defend the notion/idea that they have the "top experts" in the vast areas they operate within?  A little digging by clients could reveal egregious cases where some agencies don't even employ any experts in the areas they claim to provide!  It gets more ludicrous when you factor in that some firms have won industry awards and rank highly in the very areas that they have no experts!  There is no need to point any fingers because everyone knows it is a fact!

Lets go to the other extreme and be fair -- "boutiques" boast of being able to bring in the "best talent" as needed or "strategic partner agencies" -- and the large, multinational firms cannot do this?  Why can't they?  Clients - they can and do!

As an industry we might consider spending less time writing, discussing and persuading each other and potential clients on the merits of "any size" and spend our energy on (as stated above):

  1. People (quality of talent and not quantity)
  2. Accessibility to the talent 
  3. Quality of the client/agency partnership or relationship

Clients should force any agency to meet these goals and prove that they are "the best" in order to get hired.

We will continue to discuss in future blogs how clients can better compare agencies and feel more confident in their selections of not only pr firms, but of ad agencies and digital agencies - along with others - by applying a different set of criteria that is not designed to showcase or expound on USP's that most likely will not have much impact on a successful outcome for a particular project or brand launch or re-launch as the case may be.

Posted in: Industry News

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