Small vs. Large Digital Marketing Agencies: Which Is Right For Your Private School?

Small vs. Large Digital Marketing Agencies: Which Is Right For Your Private School?

July 11, 2022
(Reading time: 4 - 8 minutes)

Which is better, a small digital marketing agency or a large one? The short answer is it depends on your needs. 

Don’t you love my vagueness there! 

Before diving into this topic, let’s define a small school by student enrollment. Educators and researchers have not come to a clear consensus on what constitutes a “small” school or a “large” school. Research indicates, however, that an appropriate and effective size is 300-400 students for an elementary school and 400-800 students for a secondary school. Now, I care to bet your private school falls somewhere below that. 

If you are a large school, you might think that you need a large agency, and if you are a small school, you may think that a smaller agency might be the best fit. I would argue that it’s a moot point. It boils down to whether you want your school to be a number, or would you rather have a deeper personal relationship with your agency?

Think about this, if you look at Dunbar’s Number, which according to Wikipedia, “is a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships.”

Ideally, it is somewhere around 150 people. This includes your work colleagues, clients, family, friends, or other interpersonal relationships. Therefore, an agency with around 100-150 active monthly clients is a good starting number as this is most likely spread across a handful of people.

Let’s look at a small agency versus a large agency.

Small Digital Marketing Agency Is Right For Your Private School?

Small Agencies

A quick reminder, we are considering a small agency with around 100-150 active monthly private school clients. When I say active, I mean they are contacting them either by email, phone, or text monthly. They are posting content such as blogs, landing pages, or geographical landing pages. They may be doing social media, review and reputation management, or advertising online. Regardless of what they are doing, they speak with the business they are working with often.

Smaller Agencies Are More Attentive

Hands down, a smaller company will typically provide you with better customer service than a large agency. Working with a larger company, you may interact with one person for the sale and then be handed off to an account manager to handle the rest. Therefore the relationship you built with the salesperson is gone, and you might never hear from them until it’s time to renew or they have some new offering they want to pitch you on. 

Now think about that account manager. They may be working with 30, 40, or 75 other accounts similar to yours. Will they be able to keep track of your needs? Will they remember that your child hit a home run or scored a goal last month? Will they remember that your school’s principal has been there for 20 years and is looking to retire? Chances are slim to none that they will. 

An account manager at a smaller firm may be your salesperson and the account manager. With this model, it makes sense for them to spend more time with you and get to know you and your school inside and out. Therefore if you value attentiveness, responsiveness, and a personal relationship, then a small digital marketing company might be the right choice.

Smaller Agencies Are Flexible

It’s 3:00 PM on Friday, and you will announce your new tuition and fees schedule on Monday at 8:00 AM. It has been posted on your social media, and you even had a press release to the local media outlets. But, you realize you missed something, it might be a typo, or you need to change a photo. A small agency should be able to jump in and help you make the change quickly. With a larger company, you might have to wait a week before you can get the change made simply because it has to go through all the channels and approvals. 

Smaller agencies will often value you, their client, due to the personal relationship they have with you. They are often willing to shorten deadlines or make last-minute changes. 

The bottom line is that it amounts to flexibility. A smaller digital marketing agency might be a better fit if you are a smaller private Christian school.

Smaller Agencies Have a Different Culture

The bigger the agency, the more likely it will have a corporate culture to match, whereas a smaller agency may have a more laid-back and flexible culture. For example, from our inception in 2005, we set up to allow people to work remotely.

I know that not everyone works best between 8:00 and 5:00. You were hired to do a job; if you want to do it at 3:00 AM, 10:00 AM, or 2:00 PM, it doesn’t matter as long as the job is done and the client is successful.

Adam Bennett, Cube Creative Design Founder

A smaller agency that has a culture conducive to creativity and innovation may be just what your private school needs.

Furthermore, if a digital marketing agency has a reputation for having a good business culture, skilled staff will be attracted to apply. A 2014 Gallup survey found that only 68.5% of employees are either disengaged or actively disengaged. In his article, Culture: Why It’s The Hottest Topic In Business Today, Josh Bersin said that 95% of employees say that culture is more important than compensation. As we approach a post-Covid world, I care to bet that this will continue to be necessary.

Therefore, if you are looking for a Private school marketing agency for your K-12 school that can think outside the box and figure out ways to set your private school apart from the competition, then trust a small content marketing agency.

Small Agencies Think About Their Clients Constantly

A large agency might win awards, but their people go to work, do what they do, and leave. They don’t think about ways to help you improve your marketing efforts while they are walking the dog or taking a shower. (Admit it, some of the best ideas come to you there). Would you rather have an agency that only thinks about you when it’s time to work on your next campaign, or would you rather have a small agency that calls you up with an idea that might help differentiate you from the school down the road!

Small Agencies May Be Cheaper

Since a smaller agency does not have nearly as many expenses as a larger agency, they can often deliver better rates to their clients than their competitors. It is simply an economy of scale; if you have fewer people and less overhead, you don’t need to charge as much. Whereas if you have a huge office taking up an entire floor or more, hundreds of employees, then you naturally have to charge more.

Large Digital Marketing Agency Is Right For Your Private School?

Large Agencies

Returning to our size definition, a larger agency would have around 150+ active monthly clients.

Larger Agencies Have More Resources

The bigger the agency, the larger its sales stream, which means they may have more resources to meet your needs. For example, instead of one person wearing many hats, they may have one whose only job is to handle the technical SEO, another who only deals with Google Ads, and another who only writes content around a single subject matter. In other words, they are experts in that particular silo.

Larger Agencies May Have Been There, Done That

Larger agencies may have more experience with various digital marketing techniques. This may imply that they have knowledge of what works and what doesn’t because they won’t spend time or resources on strategies they know are ineffective based on previous experience.

This is not to suggest that smaller agencies lack expertise. More often than not, people will leave to either go to work or start their own agency. If you choose to partner with a smaller agency, do your homework to ensure that the smaller agency you want has a solid portfolio, testimonials, and references.

Recap

Ultimately, the decision to go with a small or large agency will be up to you. It may very well come down to who you feel can best serve your needs for the amount you are paying. I will say this, as both Forbes and AdAge have argued in favor of smaller agencies for many of the same reasons as mentioned above. While the appeal of working with a larger agency may be hard to resist, choosing a smaller agency may be the best for your private school.

If you are looking for a small agency to help with your private school whose goal is to see your school grow, then reach out to us for a free consultation.

Adam Bennett

Written by:  |  July 11, 2022

Adam is the president and founder of Cube Creative Design. Since starting the business in 2005, he has created individual relationships with clients in Western North Carolina. He places great value on the needs, expectations, and goals of the client.

See Adam Bennett's' bio: cubecreative.design/about/adam-bennett