Sales March 16, 2010 Last updated September 19th, 2018 2,476 Reads share

5 Ways Small is Beating Big for Flagship Clients

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Small is Beating Big

I’ve been noticing a not so subtle trend lately. One that should really get small businesses excited about the future.

Small is beating big for major accounts–Fortune 500 kind of accounts.

How is this possible? How are Chris Brogan and Jason Falls beating Oglivy Interactive, BBDO, Campbell-Ewald and the like for big-time interactive marketing and social media clients. How is Jeremiah Owyang and Altimeter Group beating Forrester and Gartner?

1. They’re real – I think it starts here. The old sales adage goes, “people buy from people they like.” In these cases you can see (very clearly and transparently) who you’re buying.

In the alternative case you are getting the brand. That means you are hoping you get David Oglivy, reincarnate–really?

Let’s talk reality. At least the small entrepreneurs read his books. I bet the account executives think they’re too smart for Oglivy on Advertising.

2. You get the impact player – With the small players you’re talking to the impact player. You’re going to work directly with the one that has the most to win or lose. That means you get the hungriest player on the team–the owner.

Here’s how small works: If they achieve results for you they get to take it all home–every month, hopefully. If they don’t, they’d better come up with a pitch that gets you to double down for bigger results. Or they need to quickly pick-up, dust-off, and learn from it so the next client gets what they paid for.

Here’s how big works: You get the fresh faced college kid with Ivy league credentials. And if he screws up on your account you get an apology from the account executive (whom you’ve probably never met) and Johnny gets shuffled over to another account and you get another well-groomed MBA.

3. They’re already there – The small gal is hustling everyday to be visible. She is working the same markets you are. Chances are she is already where you want to be. Their ideas and campaigns for your business are personal. They’re working their own neighborhood.

The big guys are worrying about how to quickly target, infiltrate, and develop audiences and communities. How is that working for you (oldie, but goodie)?

4. They bring along their Tribe – Ah, the best part. All those people they’re interacting with, building relationships with, and helping in order to survive and grow their own business–they bring them on every client engagement.

Seth Godin calls it their Tribe. And that’s very important. They’ve already built trust. These folks are loyal and willing to be responsive. The Tribe of the small is always looking for opportunities to give back for all the free value they have received from these folks.

5. They’re still hungry – I think I mentioned this already, but it bears repeating. The small lays it on the line in each new engagement. If they stop performing at the highest level, the music stops.

What do you think? Are you ready to show this pitch to your Fortune 500 prospect? I think it will get you a new client. Let me know–so I can cheer you on!

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Bill Rice

Bill Rice

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