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5 Ways Big Agencies Will Benefit from Working with Small Agencies

Dave Linabury

By Dave Linabury | January 2018

Agencies often farm out work to smaller agencies for a variety of reasons. While the idea of giving away work may seem downright wrong, there are several good reasons why you should and why you will benefit from doing so. Here are the top five instances we recommend you consider giving a project away.

1. When the budget for the project is too small

No matter how big the brand may be, if the budget for their proposed project is too small, it’s going to be near impossible for a big agency to make it work. When you have ten to 20 people in a single meeting and five to ten of those meetings…well, you can do the math. Things start to add up and quickly.

Good news is, if you still want to get brand recognition without screwing yourself over, you can. By outsourcing the project to a smaller agency that is better suited for the project, you can reap the benefits through a referral cost and recognition, but don’t have to try to make the numbers work. Because let’s be honest, they never will.

2. When the scope of work is very specific

Most big agencies are great one-stop shops. With that being the case, they don’t often have the bandwidth to dive deep into a specific vertical. Which makes small, industry-specific projects, not their bread and butter.

These types of projects are perfect for creative boutiques. Small digital agencies tend to gravitate towards specific verticals, platforms, and services out of necessity. Also, as a by-product of their small size, boutique agencies have to make the very most out of hiring. Not only do they employ those with several years of experience in their field, but they also look for people with a vast knowledge base.

So next time the scope of a project is too confining, go to your smaller counterpart and strike a deal instead of trying to be something you’re not.

3. When the client’s timeline is too aggressive

Even if the scope of work might be right up your alley if the timeline is too aggressive for you, it might not be worth it. In these instances passing it on to your smaller, agiler, counterpart is probably the better way to go. Let’s be honest, a client’s ideal timeline is having the project done yesterday.

Smaller digital agencies, while still reliant on systems and process, don’t have to go through as many chains of command as a large agency and can consequently hit the often aggressive deadlines. Instead of muddying the waters with a client, outsource the project and build a fruitful relationship with another agency who can get the job done — and done on time.

4. When restrictions get in the way

It’s not uncommon for large agencies to find their hands tied with a union contract and corporate-wide software mandates. Take for example agencies that work in TV or radio. Most if not all, are often locked into a contract with the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA). Sound familiar? If not, this means that these agencies are obligated to use SAG-AFTRA actors at SAG-AFTRA wages.

Since most smaller agencies aren’t up against these types of contractual restrictions, they don’t have to worry about what tools they use and who they work with. Instead of risking getting into trouble by working on a project that goes against one of your many contracts, outsource the work to a smaller agency.

5. When boots on the ground are needed

Creative boots that is. It’s not uncommon for a large brand to demand local representation on a project even if the agency they are working with doesn’t have an office there. Before you justify racking up a huge expense by sending a few of your team to live out of hotel rooms and monitor the project, why not contract a smaller agency who is already there?

Are you looking for that perfect smaller agency to partner with? Come talk to us about your next (small) project.

Dave Linabury

Written by

Dave Linabury

Dave has over 20 years of experience in strategy, branding and user experience. He excels at ensuring our clients’ marketing aligns with their business goals.

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