Full service marketing firms are typically larger-sized agencies that provide a more complete constellation of services across multiple categories including market research, marketing and communications, creative and design, web development and multimedia, as well as media buying. In contrast, boutique style firms tend to specialize in certain — albeit more limited — service offerings. While neither is inherently superior over the other, you may have different circumstances or needs that may lead you to go with one rather than the other.

Here are some things to consider for helping you decide which one is best for solving your particular marketing challenge and achieving your business aims.

Why choose a boutique firm?

Boutique firms specializing in a niche service line aren’t just for smaller brands. Although large companies tend to hire full service agencies as their agencies of record, many times big organizations will go with a boutique firm for a certain type of service. Here are some reasons why you may want to hire these types of firms.

  • Specialization and depth of experience The hallmark of boutique firms is their focus on a specific service, which could be media buying (traditional or digital), social media services, event planning, graphic design, video production or web development. For example, a web development firm could be more specialized in building websites using certain platforms or a special event company’s forte could be business conferences or trade shows in a distinct sector.
  • Flexibility and adaptability — With a smaller roster of staff, boutique firms have built-in agility to more easily pivot. They are able to more quickly adapt in response to shifting priorities or circumstances in the economic environment or competitive milieu.
  • Responsiveness — Should your priorities change or additional needs arise, boutique firms have the ability to respond quickly, and you’re likely able to directly access the team members who are working on your project.

Although more specialized firms can be nimble in servicing you more directly, they may not have the immediate availability of a cross-skilled team if there’s a complex challenge that needs to be addressed across multiple disciplines.

When you might want to go big

Sometimes your marketing challenge requires a much more comprehensive suite of services. Therefore going with a larger agency may make more sense for you. Bigger agencies offer a bigger team of staff with varied and complementary skills sets and expertise to service your needs more fully. And remember, large agencies don’t get to be that size by not having a track record of client success.

Some additional advantages that large agencies offer include:

  • Fuller spectrum of services — Large, full service agencies provide just that. They have in-house capabilities that go beyond marketing strategy and creative/design, including social media, market research, public relations and media buying. With this, you are also able to get an overarching view of the strategies and tactics that may be employed in a campaign to ensure they work together in the most effective and efficient way possible. Comparatively, boutiques tend to have a narrower scope of service with perhaps one or two primary services where different people may be providing different services in silos.
  • Breadth of experience Bigger agencies, with a more abundant employee pool to draw upon, have greater options regarding the range of experienced staff who can be allocated to work on your project. 
  • Scalability — A larger company means they will have more resources to readily access, not just in terms of staff but also money, assets and vendors who they have long-standing relationships with. And they can assemble these resources for you in short order. As a result, you may be able to experience cost savings by accessing all of these services through one agency.
  • Relationships — By only having to rely on one agency for your marketing service needs, you are able to simplify the number of touch points and relationships you have to manage. You will usually work with one or two account managers who will be your main points of contact for the agency and all of the services which you are accessing.

Find out what’s best for you

Need some help with not only deciding which type of agency is best for meeting your needs but also connecting with an agency that’s right for you? Contact us today to learn about our network of top firms who can provide the exact services you require. We make sure you’re connected with right people to help you achieve your marketing objectives.


  • https://www.30dps.com/blog/the-benefits-of-choosing-a-boutique-marketing-agency
  • http://smallbusiness.chron.com/big-advertising-agencies-vs-small-advertising-agencies-39169.html