Why Big Brands Prefer Boutique Marketing Agencies

King Media Awards
September 15, 2020

Selecting the right marketing agency to enhance your brand, grow your business and improve stakeholder communications can seem like a daunting task. You’ve already checked out agency credentials — awards, client list, case studies and references — so what more is there to consider?

When selecting the right marketing agency for your brand, it’s important to keep in mind that no two are alike. From specialty shops to global agencies to boutique firms — each one offers a vastly different value proposition.

While major brands such as Apple and McDonald’s have traditionally migrated toward large, global marketing agencies, smaller boutique firms are landing more and more national and international business and have the awards to prove it!

There are many reasons major brands choose to work with small boutique firms like King Media over large marketing agencies:

Accountability and Greater Efficiencies

Larger firms employ account managers who act as the gatekeeper on behalf of the agency. You’re lucky if you even meet the agency president in the first introductory meeting. However, at boutique firms, a smaller, stealthier team means direct access, accountability, no middlemen and less wasted time — and ultimately a greater ROI.

Without the levels of multi-tiered bureaucracy in the way, boutique agencies can move the needle more quickly and efficiently on your behalf.

You Get A Team of ‘Rock Stars’

When hiring a marketing agency, it’s important to know the individuals on your account. Boutique agencies tend to be owned and founded by rock star leaders with years of experience working with and for major brands prior to forming their own firms.

These fearless leaders tend to surround themselves with other highly skilled people who naturally gravitate to an organization that enables them to multi-task and apply their extensive skills on a variety of client projects. These rock stars are workhorses who want the responsibility of multiple jobs and thrive when wearing multiple hats.

Successful boutique firms like King Media naturally attract the brightest and best talent: people who enjoy working in a fast-paced, collaborative atmosphere to help clients achieve success.


A boutique agency will offer you the best in available talent at a fraction of the cost of using a large firm. Boutique agencies tend to offer what they are exceptionally good at rather than trying to be a “one-size-fits-all” shop. Many provide niche services that are not found at some of the larger agencies.

Large marketing agencies typically work on a retainer fee schedule, which pays the salary of employees and keeps the lights on. While some boutique agencies also work on a retainer fee basis, many firms like King Media provide a project estimate up-front and work on an hourly fee basis, which translates into paying only for the services that you need.

Relationship Builders

Working with a small boutique agency means you know your team – and better yet, they know you. With a larger agency, you may never know the entire team that contributes to your work or who is actually doing what. The individuals that make up a boutique firm like King Media are eager to build a genuine relationship with their clients – that’s why they choose to work at a small agency over a big one!

Faster Response Time

Many larger marketing agencies feature account teams that may include less experienced people. When a crisis arises, it may take longer for them to implement a strategy in response. Additionally, you may not get direct answers to questions in a timely manner when you need them due to the layers of bureaucracy.

Account teams at many of the smaller, boutique agencies like King Media become “subject matter experts” and are able to quickly respond to any client crisis situation or communication emergency at a moment’s notice. Team members are trained to support one another, and are able to step into any project and work seamlessly on your project.

The next time you consider whether your current agency is a good fit:

  • Ask to meet the agency owner or president.Get a first-hand feel for the
    organization by meeting the president of the agency, and the firm’s top partners and account directors.
  • Check out your prospective account team’s professional profiles.Would you entrust an intern with your top trade secrets? If the answer is no, then why would you want one managing an important brand refresh or product launch campaign?

Remember, you want to work with the headlining rock stars, not the warm-up band!

King Media is a full-service boutique marketing, advertising, public relations and digital media agency with offices in East Lansing, Grand Rapids and St. Joseph, Michigan. With 28 national and international awards in just the last five years, including PR News’ Boutique Firm of the Year, King Media helps companies big and small grow their business and elevate their brand.

The next time you find yourself in need of marketing, advertising, public relations or digital media support, give King Media a call at (517) 333-2048. Or contact us today.