Bigger is different: growing a marketing services agency

Noel Penrose

Philippe Crump

Every agency wants to be bigger, to offer new services, to attract better staff and to serve more demanding, high-profile clients. But increased size brings increased complexity and many agencies fail to anticipate the full implications of growth.

Experience shows that in the marketing services sector, agencies and their management teams go through a series of predictable step-changes as they mature and develop.

The revenue of a professional services firm is generally related to how many staff it employs (and how productive they are) and so size is largely a function of the number of people working in an organisation. But while headcount is an indicator of a business's size, 'braincount' is a better measure of its quality.