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September 27, 2013
Small Agencies Try the 'We're Not Them' Approach
 
See potential client. See potential client meet with huge competitor. See potential client get discouraged. 

Pounce on opportunity.

It is an action sequence we see far too often in the business world. True, the real battleground starts with the initial customer interaction, but many players in the business world (and AdLand specifically) have submitted to the "waiting" game, where they wait for their competitors to make a mistake and take the scraps and disillusioned hearts to make a deal.

Such is the case with the fallout of the Publicis Omnicom Group merger. There has been much ado over the massive size of the impending merger, and the fact that many clients, member agencies, and industry observers are scratching their heads over how exactly this is going to work.

The fact is, there will be some personnel and roster moves. Some big — but more small — clients will leave. Some small agencies will lose their comfort pillow and will be sold off, or let go. That's part of the process.

And small agencies around the country are seizing at the opportunity.

The AdMan at the New York Times, Stuart Elliot, covered how small agencies are handling it. It's a good read, and leaves you thinking about how long can small agencies push the "bigger isn't better" tagline to win some headturns.

As small agency advocates, we know that this tactic is the easiest and most visible. We get it; you have to do what you can to get noticed and maintain your creative edge, and dignity.

But we want to make sure that our small agency colleagues do not undervalue their services.

Yes, we want to make sure that the conversation doesn't revolve around small agencies being cheaper, but that the value is in the small size, the agile thinking, and use of resources. Because running with the philosophy of "taking a look at us because we're not huge and expensive" can create a dangerous slope.

Because we've seen it. Heck, we've fallen into that trap before. And the climb out sucked. 

Be careful out there, small agencies. We're rootin' for you.

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Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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