The North v South marketing agency divide – Which should you choose?

I know what you’re thinking, a northern marketing agency writing a comment piece on whether to choose a northern or southern agency for your business.  No points for guessing which side of the debate we fall on.

However, if you will indulge me for just 5 minutes (less if you read fast) you will hopefully see that we have a point!

For a long time now, the South, in particular, London, has reigned supreme when it comes to marketing, digital or otherwise. But why? Let’s take a closer look at three key areas from my own personal point of view.


There’s a false assumption that London is home to all of the best creative, digital and marketing talent. Now, I haven’t run the numbers, but in my experience, it’s simply not true.

Sure, there’s (probably) a larger concentration of talented professionals per square mile in our nation’s capital.

But then again there’s also more Wayne Rooney impersonators per square mile than anywhere else in the country (again, probably). The sheer number of people does not equal superior quality.

I’m actually quite the expert on this as I once believed the myth that London was THE place to be for marketing professionals and creatives. Enough so that fresh from University I packed my bag like some misguided Dick Whittington character and jumped on the first Megabus down to the big smoke.

I won’t bore you with the details, but to summarise, I was chewed up and spat back out within a single week. My point here is simple, London isn’t for everyone and that doesn’t make them any less talented

The North has equal measures of digital, marketing and creative talent. I’m so sure of it that I would bet my last fiver, which incidentally wouldn’t be enough for a single pint in London. Speaking of which.


Spoiler alert: London is expensive.

All of those increased bills for travel, office space, water, food and general cost of living are bound to affect agency fees. I mean, you even have to pay to use the bloody toilet in most places!

Someone has to pay for those kinds of overheads, and it’s usually you, the client. In fact, rates in London are as much as 42% higher on average when compared to those outside of the capital.

Doesn’t really seem like such a great deal considering it’s 42% more for the exact same services, does it?

Of course, the opposite is true up North where our overheads are significantly lower. A saving, which we pass on to our clients in the form of lower fees.

Therefore, if we’re in agreement that quality is equal and it’s cheaper up North, there’s really just one more factor to take into account.


This used to be a major factor when choosing an agency, and for many it still is. However, technology is making location more and more irrelevant and giving clients the freedom to shop around and find the agency that best suits them.

It’s not always necessary to meet in person, in fact, it can be counterproductive to do so, but if it is then most agencies worth their salt will come to you anyway.

Not only that, but improved public transport and the introduction of the HS2 will soon mean that it’s quicker to travel up North than some tube journeys across London! Seriously, the HS2 will take 1 hour 8 minutes and West Ruislip to Epping is 1 hour 23 minutes.


I’m sure by now you will have noticed that I’m incredibly biased on this topic. Of course I am, I’m a card-carrying, gravy swilling Northerner who thinks tea is a hot beverage AND an evening meal.

However, biased as I may be with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek, I hope you will also agree that I have a point.

For businesses anywhere there are benefits to partnering with an agency up North. Especially those with limited budgets who don’t want to pay an extra few grand to cover the Starbucks bill of a London creative team.

At Workhouse, we have successfully worked with clients across the country and indeed the globe with minimal issues arising as a result of the location difference. So, if you’re looking for an agency to partner with and debating that eternal North v South conundrum, why not give the North a go! It might just be the best business decision you ever make.