Management, social media, Think! Social Media

Research: Social Media Boutiques are Winning Deals Over Traditional Digital Agencies

By William Bakker | 12.21.10 | Comment?

Interesting post from Jeremiah Owyang today about his research findings that Social Media Boutiques are Winning Deals Over Traditional Digital Agencies. And although I think the line between traditional, digital and social media agencies is a lot more blurred than the post suggests, it’s an interesting read.

Jeremiah’s research concludes that especially the clients who are more advanced in social media leave traditional agencies for boutique agencies for the following reasons:

  • Offer a specialized skillset in new media and social business that traditional agencies may not offer
  • Often offer change management within the corporations –traditional agencies have a reputation for layering social media on top of existing campaigns.
  • Rather than be ‘campaign’ focused, instead are more long term focused such as building a community with customers for the long term.
  • Are ready to roll up sleeves to assist with deeper customer engagement –not just deploy traditional advertising (one of the top spends in social business)
  • Are more agile within smaller teams and can quickly maneuver as the technology space changes over time.
  • Fundamentally are geared to measure differently around engagement, and what it means –not just top line and bottom line measurements
  • I would add to that list that ‘traditional’ agencies often lack the culture necessary to really make social media (or digital for that matter) work.


    And at Think! Social Media we can add a specialized focus on the travel, tourism and hospitality industry as well. This industry isn’t easy to figure out and you need to understand the specifics in order to deliver real value to your clients.


    Jeremiah also identifies some weaknesses boutique agencies can have:

    Despite their strengths, Social Media Boutiques have weakenesses. They are often unable to scale as engagement is difficult to roll out to all product units and around the globe, are quickly finding that traditional agencies are catching up by training staff (see how Edelman has an internal black belt education program) and often lack the ability to achieve an integrated marketing approach.

    At Think! we’re already rapidly expanding to offer full digital services with integrated social media. We’re achieving this though great partnerships (including ‘traditional’ agencies) and by acquiring new talent, here in Vancouver, but also around the world.

    It’s safe to say that 2011 will be very exciting.

    Tags: , , , ,