What is the one-word executives want their companies to be known for but often can’t live up to?


This word, while overused and often misused, is an important quality and business practice that brands desire, and why they often search for outside partners who are uniquely capable of offering a different perspective, process, and approach.

As we emerge from one of the most economically devastating pandemics in modern times, businesses, now more than ever, have become vocal about their need for a steady stream of strategically intelligent marketing perspectives. In fact, they are ignoring historic precedent and looking toward smaller full-service advertising agencies believing they will be able to deliver new energy and fresh thinking, quicker.

Yes, the desire for “innovation” remains.

But more and more organizations are looking to couple “innovation” with an agency that can get things done quickly, efficiently, and creatively. Today there is an ever-increasing demand for speed-to-market campaigns – a change not only necessitated by our current social climate, but also an unprecedented growth in technology. Whereas larger agencies might typically spend 3 to 6 months developing a campaign, followed by launch and assessment, today’s marketing lifecycle is incredibly short – not to mention a post-pandemic business climate that is morphing into project-based relationships.

While larger advertising agencies tend to struggle with project-based work given it requires efficiency in scoping and managing, such tasks typically come natural to a smaller agency – repeatable, efficient processes built to meet tight deadlines.

So, does size matter?

For the most part, the answer is NO. Smaller advertising agencies offer the same basic full-service disciplines as larger agencies, but importantly, are less encumbered by the bureaucratic processes that can bog larger agencies down. In other words, quicker to market with overall strategy and implementation including social, digital, creative, public relations and everything in between. For 78Madison, as an example, it is not about being “the agency of record”, it’s about supporting its client’s needs! It’s about being flexible and nimble, which means being able to scale a new project quickly and delivering on time and on budget.

78Madison has always believed that most brands don’t need critical mass as much as they need critical thinking – the ability to make decisions without answering every quarter to a CFO. Smaller independent shops simply tend to get mission-critical thinking to the table faster than multibillion dollar holding companies. Yet it goes beyond “being small” and agile. Technology has also been a great equalizer that adds hundreds of hours of work to an agency’s capacity without adding head count. It enables smaller agencies to not only work faster and smarter but provide as much depth in many cases as a larger agency.

Granted, this BLOG is coming from a smaller agency, but the facts are really not in question.
Bigger oftentimes means more processes, more approvals, more levels of authority, and more potential roadblocks. As such, organizations who want to move fast — and already have to deal with their own frustrating bureaucracy — are looking for more nimble partners.

Today, big brands with big vision are looking for agencies that can match their perspective, not their size. If you’re a smart CMO trying to re-steer the titanic from hitting an iceberg, you would want a speedboat, not a bloated cruise liner to help guide you. They want an agency that can quickly respond to their needs while maintaining creativity and flexibility

There is a reason why clients have partnered with 78Madison for so many years – upward to 10, 15 and 17 years in some cases. Truth be told, smaller agencies tend to become part of a client’s marketing team — they get ingrained in their DNA. They are more interested in client’s businesses and helping it evolve and grow than they are interested in using it as a vessel for awards and accolades.

Smaller advertising agencies tend to focus more on what matters. They fully realize there is no longer a linear customer journey. Everything is connected. Products and Services. Communications and Commerce. Online and Offline. The power of Connection is creating unprecedented opportunities – creating new challenges and challengers that we are not even aware of yet. The question becomes, is your agency nimble enough to connect people, places, and things efficiently and effectively?

Would love you to know your thoughts. Email me.

Joe Bouch
CEO, 78Madison

78Madison is a full-service marketing communications firm – advertising agency – in Central Florida, offering over 38 years of experience. Our role, on behalf of our clients, is to create “obsession-worthy” messaging that consumers will choose to connect with on a deeper, emotional level. We are doing work for amazing clients across the country, and are ready to assist with strategy, branding, creative, media, PR, digital, web, social and more. We invite you to a conversation.

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