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There are several things to consider when deciding whether to work with a local marketing agency or a national provider. For instance, the type of business, overall budget, and desired outcome will all play a crucial role in the decision-making process. 

And because digital marketing services are a dime a dozen today, that makes the decision even harder. From large enterprise agencies to intimate boutique firms that consist of just a few top-tier professionals, knowing who to best fits your marketing needs can seem confusing.

From a top-level view, working with a local agency can be more cost-effective and provide a more personal touch than working with a national agency. However, national agencies have the reach and resources to provide services that local marketing agencies may struggle to match. 

The best decision is ultimately the one made based on the specific needs of your business, the track record of the agency, and what lasting impression feels right. In this article, we explain how to identify those needs so you can make that decision in confidence.

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Tl;dr Version: Local Marketing Agency vs National Marketing Agency

Top Local Marketing Agencies At a Glance

Pros of Working with a Local Marketing Agency:

  • Most cost-effective option (generally)
  • Personalized, hands-on service
  • Familiarity with local customers and target audience
  • Ability to tailor services to local areas and business needs

Cons of Working with a Local Marketing Agency:

  • Limited resources compared to national agencies
  • May be unable to offer specialized services such as large-scale market research or cross-country advertising campaigns
  • Less access to data and analytics platforms in comparison to national agencies

Top National Marketing Agencies At a Glance

Pros of Working with a National Marketing Agency:

  • Broad reach and ability to engage target audience across multiple countries
  • Access to a national pool of talent for hiring staff 
  • Expertise in multi-language markets
  • Greater ability to access data insights from different regions

Cons of Working with a National Marketing Agency:

  • More expensive services due to their range of services and overhead costs
  • Less flexibility in contract duration or specifications
  • Time differences may limit efficiency when working with remote teams
  • Limited local expertise in certain markets may mean there is less control over the outcome of the campaign

Deep Dive: Local Marketing Agencies vs. National Providers

Now you’ve briefly considered the pros and cons of working with both local marketing agencies and national providers. To help decide on the right-sized agency for your brand, we offer further clarification and explanation of the points above. 

Cost Considerations When Choosing a Marketing Agency

Cost is an important factor when it comes to selecting the right marketing provider to work with. For many businesses, this is probably the most important variable—so let’s start there.

First, local marketing agencies tend to be more cost-effective than national or international agencies. As a local marketing agency is generally smaller and has fewer overhead costs than a larger provider, they often operate on lower fee structures. This makes them more affordable—and accessible—for businesses of all sizes.

When considering a national agency, businesses should also consider additional costs such as travel costs. That includes meetings and possible staff training, which will usually be more expensive than working with a local agency. Additionally, working with a larger agency may require long-term contracts. This can potentially increase costs depending on the length of time you need their service.

Overall, when choosing between a local or national marketing agency you need to get all possible expenses upfront. That allows you to plan accordingly and make sure that you’re making the most of your budget.

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Does The Marketing Agency Need To Have a Local Footprint?

Local marketing agencies are usually located closer to home and have a specific limit to their geographic reach. As such, they tend to have an intimate understanding of the local market and industries. And that also allows them to better target potential customers. Basically, local agencies can provide insights into the market, what works, and what doesn’t work. Those are invaluable resources for newer or smaller businesses. 

Having a local digital marketing agency will also help you with:

  • Creating a sense of loyalty and trust with customers in the community
  • Gaining access to local sponsors that may not be available on a national level
  • Building word-of-mouth referrals

As a bonus, local partnerships help support local businesses. They then further contribute to the overall economic growth of their community. Therefore, working with a local marketing agency can be an excellent way to build relationships and generate new customers in your area.

Conversely, working with a national marketing agency can be advantageous when having a local footprint isn’t as important or necessary—such as for ecommerce brands. As we’ll explain below, national agencies typically have access to more resources and larger networks of connections and opportunities. This can open up new advertising avenues such as reaching a wider audience through various channels (such as new social media marketing platforms) and gaining exposure in markets you may never have previously explored.

To summarize, working with a local marketing agency can not only boost your business’s presence but also has numerous benefits for the community at large. Working with a national agency tends to provide access to a larger network with opportunities for large-scale growth. 

Local Marketing Agencies For Access, Larger Providers For Scale

Because local marketing agencies tend to be smaller and less established than larger national agencies, you might have more direct contact and access to their decision-makers, as well as more connection with their company culture. This puts brands in more control of the marketing direction and how the brand is represented. For some brands, direct access is important while for others it may not factor into the decision.    

On the other hand, working with a national marketing agency can provide your business with the resources of a team that is accustomed to handling large projects for multiple clients. Larger-sized providers will generally have a larger team dedicated to your brand and a suite of different services that can help reach a broader audience across larger geographic locations.

Keep in mind that working with a national agency also means they may be located in a different time zone—or have remote teams spread out across time zones. Therefore, this may limit their overall efficiency or ability to communicate in a timely manner. 

And in today’s landscape, search engine marketing nullifies most discrepancies in geographic reach. In the end, a small, experienced SEO team with a proper budget can still work wonders! 

The Marketing Agencies’ Suite of Services

As mentioned above, many national agencies have a suite of digital marketing services that local agencies may not be able to offer. Some examples include:

  • Large-scale market research
  • Cross-country advertising campaigns
  • Access to national media outlets

National agencies may also have the resources to provide clients with more data-driven results and insights. Mainly, because they tend to invest more heavily in data and analytics tools. For example, they could offer omnichannel marketing campaigns that include channels such as television with integrated SMS promotions that are hyper-targeted to specific audiences—even on a national level. 

Another consideration is that national firms generally have larger HR teams that hire from larger pools of talent. While a smaller hiring pool does not necessarily mean the internal staff will be better marketers, who will be working on your brand’s marketing is an important consideration. Expanding on that point, brands that require multi-lingual marketing are often better suited to national companies that are accustomed to serving audiences in different languages. 

For smaller businesses with limited budgets, these tools might be superfluous and only drive up the cost of their marketing provider. And as mentioned, they are generally more adept at reaching localized target audiences as they are more familiar with the area. Larger firms can still offer a personalized touch but may not be used to serving smaller, more intimate audiences.

Ultimately, both types of agencies can help you reach your business goals; it is simply a matter of deciding what suite of services is best suited to your particular brand and company goals.  

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Let’s Review: Local Marketing Agency vs. National Provider

When choosing between a local marketing agency and a national provider, it is important to spend some time getting to know the team that may end up representing your brand online. You should understand their methods and processes, ask for references, and read reviews in order to ensure they will be able to meet your expectations and get the job done right. 

Remember that no matter who you choose to work with, no one agency can provide the same level of service or results for every unique customer. Different businesses have different needs, so it’s important to find an agency that fits your individual requirements and expectations. Regards if you are a local business or global brand, both national and local marketing agencies can present a number of benefits to you — and in some cases, it makes sense to work with both agency types simultaneously.

Taking the time to evaluate both local and national providers can help you make a decision that will benefit your business in the long run. After all, regardless of who you choose, they should be able to provide effective solutions that further your business and maximize your ROI.

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