By: Katie Hill

Date: June 14, 2017

When it comes to choosing an agency partner, don’t dismiss the small team approach.

While some may think that working with a small agency team might be a disadvantage, it is actually a huge advantage. In fact, it’s one of the characteristics that we take pride in at Subtext. Our small team approach has kept our clients happy and coming back for the last 6 years, and we are able to successfully take on large, complex projects with ease. If you’re about to start a new project, here are some reasons why you might not want to pass up the small agencies.



You want to make sure to partner with an agency who is flexible, nimble, and able to innovate. Not only does this approach allow for creativity and innovation, it allows for a smooth, cost-efficient project.

Many large agencies tend to abide by monolithic processes and expect you and your team to work within their rigid process. Every project will have unforeseen events that occur, from product diversions to staff turnovers, a small agency team will be able to adapt and change course easily, whereas larger agencies have a hard time being nimble which can result in missed deadlines and additional fees.


Personal Attention

While you may be able to score a big name agency, the feeling might not always be mutual. Large agencies often focus on awards and accolades which mean that a lot of attention and top creatives get assigned to the well-known, high dollar projects, where the rest of their clients get less attention from less experienced team members or even worse, get farmed out to other firms.

Alternatively, smaller agencies have more of a stake in your project. There are only a certain amount of projects that they can take on at a time, so each and every one of them gets individual attention, making sure your needs are met. It’s not uncommon in these cases to know and have access to every person on your project team including the strategist, designer, and developer. In a large agency, most departments are compartmentalized so you might often see new faces or names throughout the project. With smaller agency teams, your team will be there from beginning to end and every member will have context, buy-in, and know where things are headed. You’ll get first-hand reporting instead of second or third-hand interpretations.


Well Rounded Team

One thing that large agencies do have going for them is a plethora of specialized expertise to choose from. You may be able to wrangle a team member who has worked on the same exact problem you are trying to solve, but in an agency with 100 or 1,000+ employees there is a slim chance that that person has worked directly with everyone else on the project which could cause issues.

Agencies that choose to remain small are forced to build a singular team of experts that span multiple skill sets. At Subtext, we have a strategist with a background in content, a project manager with dev chops, and a designer who has experience with web, mobile, and print. This allows us the flexibility to solve a multitude of problems and to jump in on projects when resourcing conflicts arise or additional expertise is needed.

Small teams are more likely to work within a flat structure too which results in less drama. When you’re small and nimble, you generally work more effective together since you continually learn from each others’ successes and misses. Larger teams generally have more of a pecking order which can cause unrelated conflicts.



With lower overhead concerns, smaller agencies are often more affordable than larger firms. They have fewer employees, smaller office spaces, and less need for marketing and advertising budgets. Large agencies also pay top-dollar for experts in fields that don’t have anything to do with your project but usually translate into higher project budgets for you.

Next time you’re in search of an agency partner, don’t overlook the smaller guys. Small agencies are well oiled, nimble machines that are approachable, affordable, and most importantly are empathetic to your business needs.