Starting an Interactive Agency
What corporations are facing with online advertising and other interactive projects is simple; the firms they have been retaining to deliver their interactive projects simply charge too much. The super agencies (Razrfish, Sapient, etc) have too much overhead and too many people in the chain of command. They need to recoup the cost of their expensive downtown building, the computer systems and software licenses, and the employee base that it keeps. These agencies have grown too big, too fast… and can no longer deliver a product that is equal to the perceived value that the client puts on it. Now that the bubble has burst, corporations need to get the most out of their budgets, and these agencies do not fit in with their plans.
This is where the new, streamlined, efficient Interactive agencies come into play. Once relegated to landing accounts with local small business and the occasional name brand client, small studios can now swim with the big fish. The truth is that most of the professionals in smaller agencies are the Creative Directors, Designers, Developers and Project Managers that once worked in the super firms, but were either laid off, or grew tired of the political climate and the stifling environment. These are the new powerhouses of interactive design, and it’s time that the corporate world take notice.
The benefits to working with a Smaller Design Agency are many. First, you will most likely have the full attention of your assigned team. These groups retain their talent, and work cohesively to deliver work on a timely basis giving specific attention to every last detail. There are no 9 to 5’ers. Working in a tightly nit group usually results in a better team mentality, with each member taking ownership and responsibility of their tasks, dedicated to deliver perfection.
Secondly, the cost of production goes way down. Instead of having 15 hands in the bucket, you have 3 or 4. They have the ability to shave off billable time for meetings, travel costs, equipment needs etc. The bill rates for services rendered are lower, and high-tech services such as Flash Actionscripting, HTML, CSS, and Flex are comparably less than the larger firms.
Third, the personal service that you are given greatly increases with the decreased size of team members. When you call your new agency, the phone will be answered by a human who knows who YOU are. Your request will be handled quickly and professionally, and the need to sit on hold, trying to find the right extension number for the Project Manager goes away.
In closing, the need for extremely high-quality, easy to use internet experiences has not gone away from the minds of corporations, it has just been brought down to a cost level that can no longer be met by the established super firms. Larger clientele will find their way to the future of interactive design; the dedicated small agencies.