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Smart marketers know better: independent media planning and buying firms deliver better service and talent more efficiently than the monolithic “white shoe” conglomerates. There’s been significant consolidation in the agency space. Much of that is driven by the public conglomerates need to generate growth (which they are losing organically) and to beef up their brainpower or offerings. But acquiring a media agency does not guarantee that brainpower or desire remains. In fact, most agency talent leaves soon after an acquisition as does the entrepreneurial spirit that got them there. Most acquisitions fail.

Richard Whitman’s recent MediaPost article summarized it well:

http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/248725/despite-ad-agency-merger-mania-small-independent.html

-Clients want to be loved like a “top dog” and really don’t get the clout or brainpower at the big agencies.
-Independents are better stewards of client money which appeals to clients who are under cost pressures. Independents often work with mid-size clients with more limited budgets who demand accountability.
-Independent media agencies are entrepreneurial and agile. They deliver senior talent more efficiently and effectively than their bigger competitors.

The only thing we would add is that independent media agencies have fewer biases. They aren’t jamming down pre-bought inventory or dictating use of a sister company solutions whether or not it makes sense for the client. In short, independent and strategic media firms care more about their client than themselves.