Boutique Agency vs. Full-Service Agency: Which Is Better?

Jason Berkowitz • November 23, 2023

Boutique Agency vs. Full-Service Agency - Which Is Better

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Is your business looking to save time and stress on deploying an effective marketing strategy?

Then it is crucial to explore a marketing agency that can help you achieve this. A boutique agency and a full-service agency are the two main types of companies that provide various types of attention and expertise.

In this article, we define each type and examine the benefits and differences of each.

While a boutique agency will provide a much more personalized approach to your business’s marketing needs, a full-service agency might be able to minimize your budget spend.

We give you the full rundown on each, but you need to define your needs, values, and budget before deciding on one or the other.

The Numbers Don’t Lie

According to Statista, in a study performed in 2016, 24% of U.S.-based companies had roughly three marketing/advertising agencies, leading the charts; with the close second being 23% hiring two agencies:


This data shows us that most companies are hiring multiple marketing agencies, likely specialized in various different verticals.

What is a boutique agency?

A boutique agency is a smaller advertising agency that provides more customized services and focuses on the client’s industry and niche.

Boutique agencies center their work on higher-quality branding and strategic and creative projects. Because they are more familiar with a specific niche and/or marketing vertical, they can focus their resources on much more specific marketing initiatives for their clients.

These types of marketing firms do not have multiple locations around the world. They do not have large payrolls, high overhead costs, or have experience working with big brands like Coca-Cola, Nike, or Toyota. But they usually work with smaller business-to-business (B2B) or direct-to-consumer (D2C) companies because they can relate to them.

Although this is typically the case, larger companies can undoubtedly benefit from boutique agencies. 

Boutique agencies are much more focused on the client, and their customer service process is designed to service their current customers to the best of their abilities. These small agencies focus less on salespeople and closing deals.

Still, they direct their attention to their existing team of experts who are always innovating newer, more creative ways of getting things done.

Why You Should Use a Boutique Agency

There are a variety of reasons why your business could utilize the services of a boutique agency.

Although boutique agencies are more commonly paired with smaller firms, it is becoming much more common for larger companies to seek a boutique agency because of their creative power.

Here are some of the primary reasons why a boutique agency could be the answer for you:

Relationship and Personal Attention

When you elect to work with a boutique agency, your experience will be much more personable overall.

You will be in direct contact with the knowledge experts and specialists who are dedicated to your brand. You will have direct oversight and interactions with people who are working on the marketing campaign, but you will also have direct access to the owner or CEO of the company.

Another key advantage of your relationship with a boutique agency is the overall flow of information and communication between you and the boutique agency’s small team.

Questions will get delegated much more efficiently, and your answers will get addressed much more quickly. If you see ongoing improvements that need to be made, these can get updated expediently.


Because boutique agencies do not provide a one-size-fits-all focus to your business, you can work with them to get a much more personalized, unique marketing plan.

Boutique agencies have the resources and methodologies to learn about the environment of your businesses inside and out. They will be much more in tune with your challenges, which will enable them to deliver a much more effective strategy.

A boutique agency’s flexibility allows them to adapt to your changing needs and requirements continually. Because the boutique agency’s company is typically smaller, it will not need to navigate company policies to serve you. They can make meaningful decisions on the fly and offer you dynamic solutions throughout their relationship with you.

Innovative Ideas

More extensive, full-service firms will usually deploy the same strategies and methods with each of their clients. They rely on time, and if they see one marketing test work well, they will use it for every customer they take on.

On the other hand, boutique agencies do not take advantage of time trials. They can easily adjust and build a customized strategy because their goal is to make your reputation.

Because there is no set way to do things in a boutique marketing plan, the specialists can brainstorm new ideas for each client. Instead of referring to outdated processes and initiatives, boutique agencies will bring a fresh perspective and explore new ways to build your brand presence.


Boutique agencies love helping small-medium sized businesses because they are similar in a lot of ways.

Both companies are trying to grow and expense, so working together will be a motivating factor for each party. Each business will have overlapping goals, which allows your relationship to be built upon commonality. Communication flow will be efficient because both companies are genuinely invested in each other.

A boutique agency will usually monitor its growth based on the successes and outcomes of their clients. These agencies are not in it only for the money, but they are working with you because meaningful relationships are vital to sustainable business growth.

Less Likely To Outsource

According to a recent survey:

• 68% of full-service agencies outsource SEO to a white label SEO provider
• 48% of full-service agencies outsource PPC services
28% of full-service agencies outsource content marketing services.

Source: Hubshout
Agencies Outsources Services

It’s an open industry secret that full-service agencies will outsource some of the services that they provide (not outing anyone but a few outsource to us).

Many full-service agencies will focus on a few single areas of marketing expertise and then trust white-label partners (that’s us) to handle the rest. If you go with a full-service agency there is really no guarantee that the agency you hired will be doing the work for you.

To the contrary, it’s highly likely that they will not be providing all of your services.

Sometimes clients will check the websites of full-service agencies and read glowing bios of their employees, and think “wow, their staff really knows what they are doing!”

Unfortunately, those people might not be the ones who are handling the project, making the website a little deceitful.

Boutique agencies do not outsource because they don’t have to. They have all of the specialists that they need right there in their organization.

When you work with a boutique agency you know exactly what you’re getting and who you’re getting to work on your project. You’ll also be able to reach them directly with questions.

What is a Full-Service Agency?

A full-service agency is a fully integrated marketing and advertising agency that provides a complete set of services. These larger agencies are designed to handle all advertising and marketing requirements that you and your company might be deployed in-house.

These activities could include production, SEO, strategic planning, social media, digital marketing, interactive marketing services, and more.

Businesses will usually approach a full-service agency when they discover that their time spent on advertising and marketing diverts attention away from core business activities.

If a freelancer cannot get the job done or handle enough functions, they will turn to big agencies that are full-service. Time is interchangeable with money, so a full-service agency could allow you to get the most out of marketing.

Why You Should Use a Full-Service Agency

There are a few reasons why your business may want to pursue a full service agency. Here are some of the top benefits of having a full service agency take on your marketing initiatives.


Marketing services will not be a low expense for you, but you can get the most bang for your buck with a full service agency.

While it might seem questionable to spend the money on a marketing team upfront, it can save you in the long run. If you hire agencies or individuals who specialize in a narrow niche or industry, they can cost you a lot more.

Full-service agencies might even have bundle deals to pursue.

Saves Time

No matter how large or small your team or business is, you will need to utilize some marketing strategy to grow.

It usually takes a team, and your current staff may have its hands in multiple buckets. If you elect to use a full-service agency, you have a group of people who can focus 100% of their knowledge on developing your marketing.

Diversity and Flexibility

A full service agency is built to get your project done correctly and under budget.

Regardless of what your request might be, a full-service agency will have someone that can do it.

Although responsiveness might not be as quick as a boutique agency, you can rest assured that a full-service agency has the resources to address and fulfill your request.

Which is the better option: Boutique or Full-Service Agency?

You and your business need to define your budget, values, current needs, and growth potential before deciding on the right type of agency. Both options can provide valuable marketing solutions for your business.

If you are focused on quality and personal attention, then the boutique agency is your ideal option.

Boutique agencies will take the extra time and focus on learning your situation and world, designing a marketing plan customized for your company, and then execute it and provide education on ongoing improvements.

These agencies are also much more responsive and attentive to your continually changing needs. 

But if you are operating on a lower budget and do not have the time to talk through marketing ideas throughout the week continually, you could elect to go with the full-service agency.

You can tell them what you need to get done, and then they will deploy it for you. You may not get the most personalized marketing solutions through them, but you will most likely save money.

Watch: Boutique Agencies vs. Full Service Agencies for Your Marketing

Now that you know the benefits of each agency type, would we be good marketers if we didn’t tell you to take a deeper look into Break The Web, the search marketing agency?

Browse around and get in touch so you can take the next step in building your brand presence!

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Jason Berkowitz

SEO Director

Since 2010, Jason has been strategizing & leading SEO campaigns for brands of all types.

As the SEO Director at Break The Web, Jason takes point on the strategic direction of client campaigns and internal frameworks & execution processes.

Originally from New York City, when he’s not nerding out to SEO, Jason can be found playing with strangers' dogs or falling from the sky as an avid skydiver.

More about Jason

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