Can BIG League Ad Agencies Survive in a Minor League Media World?

Advertising is in a chaotic state. The economic crisis coupled with the rising popularity of social media has made the advertising industry uncertain. The large advertising agencies are having to work more creatively for a lot less money.

“Can the BIG league agencies survive in a minor league media world?”

This is a legitimate question that the larger agencies are trying to answer.

BIG agencies and their major league clients are doing their best to play in this new era of advertising, as million dollar media budgets give way to more modest ad budgets that continue to shift more and more to online media. It must be a huge step for BIG agencies to have to come down to the minors. Just think going from shooting national, star-studded television commercials to videos shot by a novice using an inexpensive web-cam that receives over 3 million views.

BIG league agencies very existence is in jeapordy. There is more competition from smaller-to mid-size agencies than ever before. Especially those “minor league” agencies that are willing to put their stake in the ground and stand for something.

“Anyone can now play in this game.”

This is an exciting time for small-to mid-size agencies. Anyone can now play in this game. Nimble, aggressive minor leaguers, with home field advantage, can even play for major league clients feeding creative ideas into new technologies.

About Michael Gass

Consultant | Trainer | Author | Speaker

Since 2007, he has been pioneering the use of social media, inbound and content marketing strategies specifically for agency new business.

He is the founder of Fuel Lines Business Development, LLC, a firm which provides business development training and consulting services to advertising, digital, media and PR agencies.


  1. Michael – like it – and not only because I’m a small agency. I’ve always believed that our clients benefited because we provide the big agency services, but at a lesser cost. We are also able to remain flexible and shift with the demands of the market. Thanks again!

  2. You should take this argument a step further. What is the need for ad agencies in general? Why can’t the entire process be completely decentralized? A few years ago, I would contract web design work with a firm. Now, I outsource everything to places like 99designs where freelances submit ideas based around the parameters I describe. Why isn’t this the future of advertising agencies? I submit the overall scope of an advertising idea and freelancers compete to show they can implement the vision (which might mean filming a sample advertisement). I hire the best one.

  3. I think this is really reflective of the personalization and micro-community-centric environment growing on the web. People are beginning to expect companies, even large ones, to be more human and connected. The key is how to develop intimate relationships with customers. I think a smaller ad agency has a natural advantage when it comes to connecting in a more intimate way.

    Just as it is difficult for a large business to connect with a targeted audience, it is difficult for a large ad agency to bridge the connection as well.

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