Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Size matters. Just maybe not what you were thinking.

Size matters. Just maybe not what you were thinking.

(Up front: We’re a smaller agency. On purpose. This blog post is about the value of small and mid-size companies like us and whether the big celebrity firms are really a good match for an independent hotel. So yeah, this is sort of a pitch on behalf of us and all our small and mid-sized brethren in the business.) 

Maybe smaller is better.

Which is why it doesn’t always work out when a single property or smaller management company signs on with an outside advertising, PR, digital or web firm that is simply too big for them. 

It’s an old story in the ad business. Some agencies will pursue almost any piece of business with a pulse whether it’s a size match or not. The big guns come in to pitch, the fabulous portfolio is presented, the client signs on and then . . .

 . . . they never or rarely see those big guns again and their budget doesn’t allow for the fabulous video or ad campaign that wowed them in the first place. And sometimes, a firm will outgrow some of its original clients.

If you’re Marriott, Choice or a large national management company with a few dozen properties in your portfolio, you’d better have big-time marketing communications support.  It just makes sense. And you’re paying enough in fees to that big firm that you can be sure of getting all the top-shelf stuff.

Then again, if you’re a single property with somewhere between 75 and 200 rooms it might not make sense to sign on with a big firm.  Here’s why:

An agency is a business with all the expenses that go with it. And the bigger it is, the bigger the monthly nut. The more profitable accounts are going to get the most attention and the best (and most highly paid) staff. It just makes sense. In order to make a smaller fee work, they logically have to either assign junior staff to the account, farm it out to freelancers, limit the hours applied to it or even put it on the back burner.

That’s why maybe that ad campaign seems kind of ordinary to you or those changes you need to your website seem to take forever to get done.  Or why your calls and emails don’t get answered very quickly.

In a very real sense, you’re competing for attention with other clients your agency, PR firm or web firm has. They simply cannot afford to give you the same grade of service their gorilla accounts merit.

There are a lot – a whole lot – of terrific small and mid-sized web firms, digital agencies, PR practitioners and ad agencies out there who can do great work for you.  And, as a mid-sized account, you’re more likely to have a team of experienced seniors on your account at a small or mid-sized agency than at a big one. It’s just the mathematics of the thing.

Don’t misunderstand. This is not a hit piece on big firms. We respect them and admire their work. But we wish they wouldn’t take on clients that are too small to merit their “A” material.

Think about this. Who is more likely to know your name, greet you, call you up if there’s a problem you need to know about or work with you to reach your financial goals – one of the local branches of a big national bank or a local community bank? At which one do you deal with a teller and at which one do you have a relationship with management? And which one is going to be more focused on the big corporation in your town than your small business?

Sure, it might be nice to tell people that you have the same agency that works for, say, Hospitality Megabrands Worldwide, but what does that actually do for you?