In the 30 years that I have been in the wonderful world of creative—advertising, design, public relations, digital, and social—it drove me crazy to hear agencies say, “We can do everything a client needs…all under one roof.”

No, you can’t.

All I could think was, “Seriously? You cannot be great at everything.” But sadly, clients bought into this idea, which ended up with buyer’s remorse—and poor results.

Think about it. Just because you are a “full service” agency with 550 employees, it does NOT mean that you are better—or more creative—than a small boutique shop of 45 employees that does a few specific things GREAT.

In fact, I would take a top 5 boutique shop over a top 5 big agency any day. Many boutique firms do killer work.

Over the past few years, CMOs and marketing leaders no longer accept the “norm.” They are challenging their agency partners to provide greater results—while still expecting killer creative. These marketing leaders are being held to a higher expectation by their CEOs and shareholders to show a return on investment.

We’re not just talking about awards. We’re talking about real results.

The world of advertising has changed in a major way. And we will probably never go back to the days when a single agency took care of a client’s every need for strategic planning, marketing, advertising, creative, communication, and digital.

About 5 years ago, Advertising Age made a brilliant move—by founding the annual Small Agency Conference and Awards. This event spotlights how big brands like Kia Motor, Chobani, the NHL, Mondelēz International, and AOL no longer use a single agency to do everything. Instead, they have a small roster of agencies that each do 1 specific thing great, and play well together in the sandbox. The focus? Killer creative that gets results. Period.

Bigger is no longer better. Instead, you need to be great at something, and collaborate with others to provide a service that will get killer results for clients. That strategy also helps you continue growing your agency, but without getting bigger.

For an example of an award-winning national branding and design shop with less than 30 incredible people, look at TOKY in St. Louis.

Need a digital marketing team that can tie your email marketing, social media, mobile, surveys, and online forms together to capture data? You don’t need to spend your entire marketing budget. emfluence in Kansas City already has the platform—and more importantly, they have the people.

Bottom line? There are incredibly talented shops, agencies, and marketing firms out there that get it. They have become GREAT at something that marketers need. But they don’t pretend to be great at everything. Instead, they partner, play well with others, do killer creative, build brand awareness, and give their clients measureable results.

ROCK Creative Network connects marketing executives and agency leaders with incredibly talented and passionate creative and digital resources to grow and get results. If you want to win more business, get better creative and better results from your existing budget, call George Weyrauch at ROCK Creative Network at (816) 305-4728 or