August 13, 2017

By: 
Rachel Strella

Digital Marketing: Pros and Cons of Working with a Small Business vs. a Marketing Agency

digital marketing

With Google Search, Facebook, and the myriad of other social algorithms getting smarter each day, it’s more important than ever to invest in a robust digital marketing plan. You may be wondering where to start – and you may be considering whether to hire a marketing agency or a small business.

Regardless of the digital marketing partner you hire, there are a few components to consider to get the most of your efforts. These include:

- establishing your marketing goals so you can yield a return on your investment
- identifying the top needs of your customers so your marketing partner can position your company as the solution
- determining the expectations and communication desired

Once you’ve established these parameters, now’s it time to start your search. Here are a few pros and cons of working with a small business for your digital marketing needs.

Digital Marketing with A Small Business

Pros

Direct communication. There’s a higher likelihood that your message will not be lost in translation, because you often work directly with the person who will be executing the project deliverables. At an agency, it’s common practice to communicate with an account manager who then delegates tasks to a variety of people - designers, developers, content specialists – that can muddle the interpretation of the project outcome.

Customization. Small businesses are known to tailor solutions to meet the needs of their clients, while being mindful of the marketing budget. Agencies typically have set offerings which can be costly and lack flexibility.  Agencies also tend to throw many pieces of marketing under their umbrella, thereby reducing the likelihood of effectiveness.

Cons

Limited resources. Small businesses often lack the number of staff with dedicated specialties to fulfill all clients’ marketing needs. This can limit the number of projects or scope of work desired. Agencies not only have teams with specialized skills, but they can also produce a larger volume of work.

Less scaling flexibility. As your business grows, your marketing needs will also grow. Small businesses are not often equipped to fulfill the needs of a business experiencing exponential growth.

Some folks are loyal to small businesses while others find agencies better suited to meet their needs. These are just a few things to consider as you begin your preliminary search. If you want to learn more about what a small business has to offer your company, check out our services or contact us today.

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4 comments on “Digital Marketing: Pros and Cons of Working with a Small Business vs. a Marketing Agency”

  1. Curious, how do you define a 'small business' and a 'marketing agency'? Is it based on number of people?

    There are plenty of agencies who work hand's on with clients from start to finish. And if a small business has more than 1 employee, there will always be the chance that more than one person will be executing at least some of the deliverables which could result in the same potential of missed communications.

    I also take issue to the comment: 'Small businesses are known to tailor solutions to meet the needs of their clients, while being mindful of the marketing budget. Agencies typically have set offerings which can be costly and lack flexibility. Agencies also tend to throw many pieces of marketing under their umbrella, thereby reducing the likelihood of effectiveness.'

    I'm sorry--but I don't agree with that statement. What do you mean by 'throw many pieces of marketing under their umbrella'? And how is that reducing the likelihood of effectiveness? A well designed multi-media strategy can only improve on the digital marketing campaign's effectiveness as long as it is based on the client's objectives and their budget.

    Bottom line IMHO, a business should consult with a professional who has credentials, references and has their client's best interest at heart regardless of whether or not it is an individual/small business or an agency.

    1. Hi Maureen,

      I value every comment I receive on the #Strella blog and I am thankful you took the time to read and respond.

      The point of this post was to offer a birds-eye view of marketing for businesses looking to find help with their efforts. Clearly, there are nuances to everything. Perhaps this could be a consideration for a more in-depth post with detailed compare/contrast.

      Thanks for your readership.

  2. I do think there's something to be said for marketing businesses that are ready and willing to understand your business on a deeper level vs. an agency that's primarily about delivering value to companies who already know what they're looking for. But it's also a big generalization with plenty of exceptions of agencies that can act like hands-on businesses and small businesses that can use their smaller scale to deliver great marketing value for their clients.

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