Get to Know the 15 Fastest-Growing Independent Agencies in the U.S.

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It's a tough time to grow.

Even though overall marketing budgets have grown in 2014 and are expected to rise in 2015, few agency leaders would claim they feel the benefits.

Outsourcing to lower cost freelancers, unstable project work, and a lack of client loyalty has meant agencies have to change the way they market themselves, charge their clients, and even source creative talent.

It's a competitive business. And that is not going to change anytime soon.

Recently, we profiled the largest independent firms in the industry. Now it's time to take a look at those agencies that are experiencing high growth and thriving in a volatile market.

We’ve pulled together a list of the fastest-growing independent agencies based on revenue growth from 2012 to 2013 (as gathered in Advertising Age’s Agency Report 2014) in the U.S. Get to know these stand-out firms:

Sockeye

Location: Portland, Oregon

Founded: 1997

Sockeye is a brand creative agency that has worked with companies such as Rockport, Columbia, and Adidas, and it works on many local accounts, including Travel Portland and the Oregonian. Beware if you are consider jumping ship to this agency: Every new hire gets pied in the face. In 2013, the agency grew 137% from the previous year, according to Advertising Age.

Griff/SMC Marketing Communications

Location: Boulder, Colorado

Founded: 1975

Griff/SMC is an integrated marketing firm that specializing in the medical device and healthcare field.

Fingerpaint

Location: Saratoga Springs, New York

Founded: 2008

This fast-growing agency worked with Alimera Sciences, General Electric, and Mount Sinai and offers a full range of services.

Jellyfish

Location: Baltimore, Maryland

Founded: 1999

Jellyfish specializes in digital marketing, including SEO, analytics, PPC, and social. The agency launched Jellyfish Publishing in 2012 and acquired digital agency Weedoo. It now employs around 175 people.

AY Digital

Location: New York, New York

Founded: 2004

AY Digital mainly partners with agencies that need a digital partner — calling itself the interactive agency for agencies. It has worked with The Buntin Group, The Martin Agency, and Cheil Worldwide. AY also maintains offices in Buenos Aires, Tokyo, and New Delhi.

Hanapin Marketing

Location: Bloomington, Indiana

Founded: 2004

Hanapin Marketing specializes in digital marketing and paid search for enterprise clients. It maintains a digital advertising blog and hosts a PPC-focused conference, Hero Conf, each year. The agency works with clients such as The Home Depot, UGG, and Target.

Ready Set Rocket

Location: New York, New York

Founded: 2009

Ready Set Rocket focuses on using data and analytics to create digital marketing campaigns and projects. The agency was recently recognized for its work on the Kenneth Cole “Man Up for Mankind Challenge,” which uses a Google Glass app.

Schermer

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Founded: 1997

Schermer specializes in B2B marketing and focuses on branding, demand generation strategies, and digital marketing. The agency works with clients such as Toro and H.B. Fuller.

EPAM Empathy Lab

Location: Newtown, Pennsylvania

Founded: 2005

Empathy Lab provides digital marketing, experience design, and software development services. It has worked with brands such as American Red Cross, Clarins, and USA Network.

Solve

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Founded: 2011

Founded by a group of executives from Fallon Worldwide and Carmichael Lynch, Solve was named Small Agency of the Year - Silver by Advertising Age in 2013. It’s client roster includes Bentley Motors, Organic Valley, and Cascadian Farm.

Omelet

Location: Culver City, California

Founded: 2004

We recently covered Omelet’s move into product launches with its Betsy’s Best seed butter line. But its core business is also booming. It specializes in creating branded content and influencer programs and has worked with HBO, Whole Foods Market, and Microsoft.

Commonground Marketing

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Founded: 2004

Known for its work for Coors Light and Coca-Cola, the agency specializes in multicultural marketing, while also producing more general market work for brands. The agency recently announced it would be forming a holding company that would bring together eight independent agencies focused on multicultural, minority, and youth marketing.

Pollinate

Location: Portland, Oregon

Founded: 2008

Pollinate is a full-service creative and digital agency that focuses on solving business problems. Its clients include Sur La Table, Surfrider, and Oregon Lottery.

Vizion Interactive

Location: Irving, Texas

Founded: 2005

Vizion Interactive provides SEO services, including optimization, PPC, social, and web design and development.

NAIL Communications

Location: Providence, Rhode Island

Founded: 1998

NAIL is a full-service agency that is famous for creating the Mike & Ike breakup campaign and for creating an ad using YouTube’s pre-roll skip button. Advertising Age named it the Small Agency of the Year, Northeast - Gold in 2013.

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