I admit, I've done it - I've chosen a bigger company over a small one. Many times we choose our providers based on being large or reputable companies. A former boss of mine once said, "No one is ever fired for hiring IBM".
To which I would add, "But they should be".
When choosing a Marketing or Advertising agency, the same thing happens. In the more traditional terrain, betting on Ogilvy, Leo Burnett and others, has always been a safe bet. That does not mean that big agencies are always the best choice. In our world of Inbound Marketing, it is the same; InboundCycle or Increnta, for example, are excellent options, but are they always the best?
From my point of view, there are a number of reasons that small Marketing agencies are better:
The bigger an agency, the less you mean to it as a client
When we started our Inbound Marketing agency, mbudo, we had a client that was undoubtedly our MOST important. It was also the ONLY client we had at the time. By simple logic, the owner or manager of the agency is distributing their attention to the different clients. The more clients, the more divided their attention.
Bigger agencies = more procedural and less tailored
Large agencies generally have much more turnover than small ones, so they have strictly-defined procedures for every project. Undoubtedly this has a positive aspect: you ensure homogeneous implementation. However, it also has a few negative aspects: you lose personalization and tailor-made proposals and deliverables.
Big agencies tend to have more junior profiles
Someone will probably read this and tell me that in your big Marketing agency there are many senior profiles. That may be true, and for that I extend my apologies. However, in my experience on "the other side" (I worked with clients on Marketing for more than 20 years), my initial statement is usually true. Big agencies hire junior employees to do the tasks that senior employees won't do. It's also unsustainable and expensive to have a large team of specialized, senior-level profiles.
A big factor is price. Big agency = more expensive
The larger agencies usually have more arguments to justify a more expensive price: experience with many clients, a higher tier in partnership with its manufacturer (for example Hubspot), and as an assumption, better service due more available staff. Just remember, paying a higher price doesn't always mean that you'll get better service or results...
2020 is about to arrive, and a crisis scenario or economic slowdown has been predicted. You can continue betting on big agencies and still do well. But if you bet on small Marketing agencies, like mbudo, you can do better.