Is Working with an Advertising Agency Affordable for Small Businesses?

EAG, September 22, 2020

Once upon a time, small businesses grew organically with a local storefront, serving the immediate community’s needs. Once flourishing, a small business might open another store in the next town, and so on and so on, until it was operating at regional, national or even global levels.

When Joyce Clyde (J.C.) Hall arrived at the Kansas City train station in 1910 with nothing but a couple of boxes of postcards to sell, he went door to door; he didn’t show up at the door of an advertising agency for small business. It took nearly two decades before the Hall brothers ran their first national magazine ad in Ladies’ Home Journal.

Imagine steadily growing a company for 18 years before selling to a nationwide audience.

Like a nuclear bomb, the internet exploded. It probably took 18 minutes before it dawned on advertising company executives how much it would change the industry. Had J.C. Hall begun peddling postcards in 1995, he could’ve launched a website and taken Hallmark global in seconds for the mere cost of a URL registration and website hosting fees. The internet opened a world marketplace to small business owners with smaller advertising budgets.

Small business entrepreneurs, like Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak building computers in a Bay Area garage, were no longer restrained to selling to customers within a few blocks or even a few miles. But they did need a website, and that led to the gig economy and the birth of the side hustle. Without the deep pockets to hire traditional advertising agencies, small business owners turned to the English teacher next door to write website copy, the cousin who works at IBM to be the web developer and a high school friend to cart orders to the post office for shipping.

Imagine rapidly growing a company and gaining a global audience in weeks or months.

You can visualize the advertising evolution small businesses experience using the Grand Canyon. On one side, you have the Apples and Hallmarks of the world today. They spend gazillions of dollars with advertising agencies annually. If a campaign flops, it hurts, but as long as their reputations are intact, they have additional advertising dollars to go another direction.

On the other side of the canyon, you have today’s versions of J.C. Hall, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak who launch a small business and make sales lickety-split. That deep, wide canyon in between them represents the teacher, cousin and friend who side-hustled to get the small business off the ground, but are now in over their heads in small business marketing strategy and tactics.

An advertising agency for small business bridges one side to the other.

Starting out, side hustling freelancers can provide the basics a small business needs to advertise. However, as sales and revenue increase, the more obvious it becomes that siloed and disjointed marketing strategies and brand elements won’t get your small business to the big brand side.

EAG Advertising & Marketing was designed to be an affordable advertising agency for small business. We were created out of necessity, stemming from a conversation EAG’s founder and CEO, Paul Weber, had with a small business owner at a networking event. Paul had worked at the big ad agencies, and like every entrepreneur, he created his business to fill a void in the marketplace.

READ: How Much Money Should a Small Business Spend on Marketing?

The small business owner told Paul that big agencies didn’t want his business and even if they did, he couldn’t afford them. The business owner had outgrown his early-stage marketing collateral and needed next-level branding elements and strategies at a price point he could swing.

Since 2003, EAG has provided branding, advertising and marketing services to nearly 400 small and mid-market companies in Kansas City and across the nation. Our staff has been profiled or quoted in numerous national and local publications including the Wall Street Journal and INC. Online. Recognized over the years for award-winning creative, results-based campaigns and brand management, the ANA Business Marketing and AMA American Marketing Associations of Kansas City selected EAG as the 2019 Agency of the Year.

Is working with an advertising agency affordable for small businesses? Absolutely. If J.C. Hall had stepped off the train from Omaha in Kansas City a century later, Hallmark wouldn’t have had to wait 18 years to afford a national campaign ad.

Want to know just how affordable an advertising agency can be? EAG’s team consists of past and present business owners, as well as former employees from big agencies. We crossed the bridge many, many times. Let us work on some numbers.


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