Which Marketing Agency Should You Hire: Big or Small?

Posted August 16, 2017 by swimcreativebig vs. small agency

Deciding between big and small comes down to deciding your priorities.

Go big or go home, right? Not necessarily.

When it comes to marketing, going with a large agency or a small agency comes down to a few key factors. Mostly, what are you looking for in an agency?

When we stacked small vs. big in various categories:


SmallSmall agency = smaller bill. Here’s where low overhead works in your favor. At a big agency, you’re not the only one they’re trying to impress.

In addition to the clients, there are board members, stockholders and other offices around the country to keep up with. Which means more money needed for exuberant award shows, ping pong tables, beer on tap, an over-the-top holiday and summer party, and skyrise office buildings. Sounds like $$$$$. 


Big – These guys didn’t open their doors yesterday. They’re big for a reason, they’ve proved themselves again and again, and won big name awards doing so.

Size of Team

Tie – Whether big or small, your team should be around the same size. At the large agency, it’s most likely everyone will be in-house, while at the smaller agency, several team members may be contractors.

Power Players

Small – Yes, the big agencies have the big names, but will the CEO touch your account? Sorry to break it to you, but probably not.

At small agencies, every client has a big impact on the company. So the lead creatives are invested in every project.


Tie – Small agencies have the freedom to be innovative. Big agencies have the money. It’s such a selling point that both sizes will constantly vie to be considered innovative.

Culture plays a big part in whether new ideas are welcome.

Large Projects

Big – If your aim is to reach internationally, the big agencies have it. Typically, they have offices around the world, a wide range of resources and they know how to get influencers to show up.


Small – Organic culture has a much easier time growing at a small agency. Small teams plus small spaces turn into “We’re best friends.”

When creatives build trust, they build a workplace where ideas can be played with and explored without the layer of politics or excessive competition.  

All the Stops

Big – You want to be waited on from the moment you walk in the door? Go big.

Small agencies will offer you coffee and snacks, but big agencies will have that double espresso, caramel macchiato just the way you like it.


Small – With fewer layers of bureaucracy, small agencies can adapt their spaces, staff and processes faster. So you get a team that suits you — and your specific goals — to a tee.

Who Wins?

That’s up to you. What does your company need? How can an agency support your company? Which of the above factors are important to you? 

We hope that this helped in your agency search. 

Want more? Be sure to read Five Keys To A Successful Agency-Client Relationship.

For more questions about marketing, reach out to our director of accounts, Bill Nelson.

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