For generations, the prevailing view in advertising held that a world outside the major metro hubs of New York, Chicago and later Los Angeles didn’t exist—or at least didn’t matter.

But as the industry settles firmly into its digital age, a new generation is flocking to smaller cities like Austin, Texas, Omaha, Neb., and Knoxville, Tenn., offering greater opportunities for career advancement, work-life balance and a lower cost of living. With shrinking advertising budgets and clients questioning whether agencies in large cities can speak to the average American, agencies in smaller cities can often work for less while offering valuable perspective on consumers.

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