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  • Writer's pictureDylan Pemberton

Why Choose A Boutique Marketing Agency?

We don’t blog much as we’d like to - we’re too busy delivering results for our clients. But it’s true that we probably should blog more. The same applies to our own social media. Problem for us is that the people who write our blogs and run our social media are the same senior team who run our brand and our client programmes. We don’t have junior staff to pass blogging onto as a box ticking exercise. This is both one of the advantages and one of the disadvantages of running a boutique marketing agency.

The question we are posing today on our blog is why should you choose a boutique marketing agency over a more traditional agency? To drill-down on what a boutique marketing agency even is - a boutique agency tends to be comprised of highly experienced, specialist professionals who deliver highly personalised services, results and benefits that larger competitors simply compete with or even do like-for-like, certainly not in terms of cost. ready accessibility and quality. The only perceived downside of boutique agency is their often (perceived) lack of notoriety since they don’t tend to invest in their own public persona’s and their own outward appearance compared to the typical ‘big agencies’ who are a lot more obsessed with shiny things and a one-size-fits-all approach.

Perhaps the most important thing we’d like to stress is that there’s no hiding at a boutique agency. Our clients appreciate that. They also appreciate that as a business we don't pull our punches (primarily because we don't have a board or investors to pay lip service to). We can just say it how it is. You'll only ever hear our direct opinions, never a three-whip party line... For Irigait, building a boutique agency was a choice. Having worked at and with numerous traditional “big agencies”, we know that they can look impressive with their ball ponds and pool tables, kooky offices, expensed hospitality and armies of hipster apparatchiks (all of which you actually pay for and do so at a multiple). However, behind the façade, most of these agencies are super-hierarchical, extremely bunkered, overly-structured and usually unable to rapidly adapt to your needs – you’ll always have to bend to their will.

Large, traditional agencies tend to be routine-orientated, fluffy and aloof. This is especially true when it comes to accountability and transparency. You’ll probably find yourself asking who the buck actually stops with as while you may deal with a director or a senior staffer when they’re pitching for your business, the chances are high that they are not actually the grunts who will actually be working on your account. Self-serving is perhaps too strong a word for agencies like this but, in our considerable experience, too many traditional agencies focus on winning industry awards, gaining peer recognition for themselves and backslapping when they should all really be entirely focussed on winning awards for their clients (or at least winning them business). Always remember that not only do big ships take a long time to turn (and thus lack agility) but they’re usually slow, top-heavy and inordinately expensive to run. Don’t get us wrong - these agencies are usually a lot of fun to work at/with and they are often fully capable of delivering outstanding results once they've tested and tested at your expense. It’s just that those results will always cost you a lot more time and money than you may suspect. Diametrically, we believe a boutique agency like Irigait is lean, agile, innovative and efficient. Our overheads and our cost base is much, much lower than a traditional agency, we’re very much used to working remotely in the new post-pandemic world and all those dramatic savings are always directly passed onto our clients. We’re able to offer a much more bespoke and personalised service and do so in a way that fits you perfectly, always without any square pegs and round holes. We are naturally able to be more creative and outside the box in our approach because we simply don’t have to suffer the shackles of a hierarchy and we don’t have the same fixed processes and measurements to adhere to. Our team is much more commercially savvy and we are always fully accountable to our partner brands. We deal with you directly and never at arms lengths via multiple and inconsistent levels of account managers and executives. This way, nothing ever gets lost in translation and even if it was to you would always know where the buck stops so there's always a natural failsafe. We’re a multi-disciplined and highly experienced team anyway but rather than carry the overhead of the wide range of niche skills and support required by all clients, we simply buy in those skills and scale-up to fit as and when necessary. Key to this is our inherent ability to manage that insourcing process and our ease in demanding the level of service for us that we would expect our clients to insist on (but who aren’t always comfortable or experienced enough to do so).

Look at it this way... if you want five bedroomed luxury accommodation in London with resplendent living quarters then you could of course go and hire an enormous suite or even a floor at The Ritz. You’d obviously have to pay a fortune to do so and what you’re really paying for is their reputation, all their ancillary staff and access to a huge range of added-value services that you probably won’t even need. While their concierge may be great the truth is that if you have a problem during your stay it’s unlikely that you’ll actually deal with the person who the buck stops with. Ultimately, you’re just one of a long line of guests and while the service may be very slick, it’s likely to be a lot more than what you really need (and certainly not optimal for your budget or even your needs). You won’t be able to adapt the location of the hotel to your needs. However, if vanity and notoriety matters more than value and delivery then it's a perfectly good choice... So what’s the alternative? Well, it's a fact that you can get equally luxurious accommodation at an Airbnb apartment. You’ll deal directly with the owners, you’re the only guest and you’re not paying for an enormous team of staff. The person who you booked with will likely be the same person who prepares and services your accommodation and they’ll offer you a solution that’s entirely designed to suit your exacting needs. When you check-in or out will not be determined by an entrenched corporate policy or an army of housemaids. Ultimately, you’ll get a lot more value for money and a more personalised service which all helps ensure you sleep better. You won’t have to pay through the nose for every single extra option be that room service or parking. If you need something like a vehicle while you’re there then the owner will probably go get you one or even give you theirs instead of you having to pay for a Rolls Royce just to be on standby whether you need it or not! Ultimately, our clients tell us that we feel like a direct part of their team and business. We provide better customer service, unique commercial consultancy, greater accountability, absolute visibility and insight and superior results. We’re able to focus our considerable resources, commercial experience and agility on delivering specific marketing initiatives for our clients and in doing so get superior results and offer much greater value for money. Talking of clients, you can see just some of the many brands we work with and have worked with below:

If you’d like to know what we and our boutique approach can do for your brand then please get in touch with us as we’d love to learn more about you, your commercial objectives and what success looks like for you.

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