The large marketing agencies are the best agencies!
And that’s it! Size matters and outweighs any other criteria – not to mention that the well beloved awards and prizes are always spread only among the large ones. In fact, that’s just human. It’s the same with rating corporate groups. Large corporations usually have a better market capitalization, and therefore, they can employ a huge number of staff. Of course, they must be better than others. But what does “better” exactly mean in this context?
The question relating the number of employees – Still deeply rooted with a company’s quality
When people ask me what I do for a living, it is always followed by the same question: “How many employees do you have? Or is it just you doing the job?”
It’s a typical situation at parties when you meet a lot of people that don’t know each other. But the logic behind this question is always to evaluate, how “important” I am.
As an example, let’s look at the creative-rankings – apart from the question how you might interpret it. I always thought it kind of strange. But one thing at a time. Creative-rankings are spread among the sector’s big players. I ask everyone who knows this sector to consider why the situation is like that. There are many reasons that come to my mind straight away.
Next, there’s the rating of size, for example the largest digital agencies or the largest owner-managed agencies etc. All these rankings have very few significance, but are still considered as benchmark. But if you take a closer look at several agencies you’ll soon realize that they earn their money with completely different subjects that the ones written on their label.
We are 25 employees – it this bad or 10 times as bad as the agency with 250 employees?
Flexible, adaptive and with flat hierarchies – That’s what agencies are supposed to be
I speak from personal experience and it’s not about glorifying our size or trying to make big agencies look bad. In fact, I want to draw attention to the fact that, for example, due to Accenture’s “acquisition-race” a lot of potential is wasted. The agency world is needs experts who are bold enough to be creative – and run against mainstream. The rest includes hierarchy-overloaded corporate structures that do not deal with what agencies actually represent.
The dilemma already starts with 50 employees. You need different organizational structures that eat up a huge part of the profit. It takes good leaders and motivated employees – people that can identify with the system and their job. That becomes more difficult the more the agency grows. Additionally, as an owner you don’t work the way you probably wish to, because you get lost in human resources issues and topics concerning politics and structures.
Marketing agencies should be an incubator of innovation
How is that supposed to work, if you’re only occupied with running your business? That’s a fact – even if nobody wants to admit it in public. The German marketing agency has to create ideas and at the same time retain the freedom to transport even matters that clients tackle rather reluctantly.
All forms of change that leads to something new – that’s how I define innovation. It is not about becoming one of the world’s new Elon Musks that want to revolutionize everything around us. It’s rather about the small revolutions: optimizing processes, raising awareness for digital tools, reaching out when there are concerns about change etc.
It doesn’t have to be the next big thing, even the minor topics create a lot of room for new ideas.
After 30 years in marketing, I realized that this individual power is more important today than it ever was. And our success speaks for itself. We gain a lot more popularity, particularly because we are not that big. And we still have the guts to participate actively in advancing innovations.