Why You Shouldn’t Work with a Virtual Agency

Choosing the right agency is a big deal. It is often overwhelming, stressful, and filled with lofty (occasionally empty) promises.

Cities are increasingly crowded with digital agencies fighting for relevance, battling for new accounts and trying to separate themselves from the rest. And recently, virtual agencies have burst into the market, offering businesses another agency option.

You might be considering working with a virtual agency, or this may be completely new to you. In either case, let’s take a look at a few factors that may determine whether or not a virtual agency is the right fit for you.

You shouldn’t work with a virtual agency if…

    1. In-person meetings are of high importance to you. Hand shakes. Eye contact. Power stance. If the psychological mind games played in the boardroom are the highlight of your afternoon, you’ll hate having a remote partner.
    2. You love conference rooms and whiteboards. Dry erase markers are really cool, and we understand if you just can’t give them up. Screensharing a presentation from your own desk just isn’t the same.
    3. You want drinks and eats at every meeting. Bagels, mixed nuts, and cheese trays are the swag bags of having an agency partner. However, if you’re working with a virtual firm, you’ll have to BYOB.
    4. You love travelling around your city. You’ll have meetings, whether you choose a local agency or a remote one. The difference is the travel. Those 15-30 minute trips each way can be a breath of fresh air in your work day…or not.
    5. You’re positive that your exact geographical area represents the best available talent. We’re not naming any names here, but there are some cities that are positive they have the market cornered on creative talent. I mean, if someone was good, they’d certainly move there…right?
    6. Your team has perfectly synced calendars. If getting all the decision makers in the car and across town once a week isn’t a problem, then being able to call in from any phone or computer for a meeting won’t seem like much of a benefit.
    7. You are comfortable using unfamiliar toilets. What is it about meetings that inevitably make you have to visit new restrooms?

You should work with a virtual agency if…

    1. You like to have a high level of communication. For virtual agencies, it’s much easier to coordinate schedules for meetings, since everything is done from a phone or computer. Being remote means that absolutely everything has to be written down, stored and shared, which is great for keeping track of communications.
    2. You live in your inbox. With a remote partner, you can balance most of your work needs from in front of your computer. Don’t want to talk to an Account Manager to get access to information? You just log into the project management system and see for yourself. And the majority of your communication is going to be via email – so no more phone tag.
    3. The outcome is more important to you than the outfit. You don’t care about the “prestige” of working with an agency that has swanky office space filled with bearded men wearing flannel shirts buttoned to the top, hanging fixie bikes, full sleeve tattoos, standing desks, wall typography, Indie Spotify playlists or Herman Miller chairs. You just care about selecting an agency that will deliver the goods.
    4. You value efficiency, access and results. Good virtual agencies remove many barriers and give clients full access into all parts of the process, providing increased visibility and transparency. Since results matter and your ass is on the line, you don’t want guess-work or agency speak. You just want to know where, when and how things are running at all times.
    5. You appreciate intentionality and scrutiny. Running a successful virtual agency requires deliberate and intentionality in all things. Meetings, communication, storage, documentation, billing, etc. Because it seems “too good to be true,” virtual firms often overcompensate to prove value and professionalism to their clients.
    6. Competitive rates are a priority for you. Ever wonder if your traditional agency charges so much because they want to build another “think tank” room or hardwood conference table?
    7. Your “typical hours” aren’t typical. Virtual agencies span all time zones and the work day is predicated on client need. That’s a real boon when you send an email at 4:45 PM, and know that your developer two time zones over has several hours left to get back to you.

Listen, we know that a virtual agency isn’t right for everyone.

You need to know what’s important to you when choosing to engage with any agency. Talent, budget, style, portfolio and trust are all going to factor into a your selection process. If you know what matters to your company (and what doesn’t), then it’s easier to choose the best fit for your needs.

Trust us, you don’t want to rush this step. You’ll be happier in the long run if you spend a little more time on this choice.

Does working with a virtual agency sound like a great fit? We’d love to be on your shortlist. Drop us a line, and we’ll stay in touch.