Digital Marketing Agency vs Digital Marketing Consultant

Complete and full disclosure here. I am writing this with a totally slanted pen. I own a digital marketing agency and not a consultancy. That said I don’t think there is any bad either kind of business. This blog post is just to help educate on the differences number one and that both exist number two.

Our agency is a little unique in that we focus on manufacturing and industrial companies. Sexy? I guess not. Fun and exciting to see the impact we can make to the bottom line in a short period of time. Yes!

Sexy? I guess not. Fun and exciting…Yes!

Most manufacturing companies are leery of a digital marketing firm mainly because many manufacturing companies are still on the front end of the digital marketing, social media, content marketing thing. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some great companies doing some great things, it just means as a group manufactures are later to the party than others. We realize when we are invited by the marketing team or sales team to present that we are starting from that place.

Once we get past the fact that our brand of digital marketing isn’t some social media voodoo but instead just a scientific approach to taking the current offline sales process that is successful today and help fill in some gaps, automate some things and over all enable the sales team and empower the marketing crew. The next objection is, “We don’t have the time to have someone who doesn’t know our business come in here and tell us what we need to do when we already don’t have the time or resources to get it done.”

You know, I don’t disagree with that at all. I don’t want to give you a 1 year, 2 years and 5 years plan that the only reason you dust it off and review it is some moment of mixed self-loathing and self-pity as you lament all of the great ideas that have come and gone better never got executed on. And that is the crux of the difference between the two type of marketing companies.

A digital marketing firm is going to DO the work, at least a good one will. They are going to do the consulting engagement. You are going to balk at the high price but will say yes anyways because you know you need help and these folks seem like they might have an answer. After all of the discovery and all of the questions, they are going to come back to you with a plan, a roadmap, a strategy initiative. Then, in what you didn’t see coming they are going to offer to get it all done for you. Will it be free? No. Will it be more affordable than hiring an in-house team? It better be!

Check out our article on the benefits of outsourcing your digital marketing activities.

But that’s what a digital marketing agency does and that is the value they bring. They bring strategic expertise and they have the back office team to develop strategies and manage your projects properly. On top of that, they bring with them all of the experience they gain from all of their other clients in similar and different markets than you.

So it still sounds like I’m trashing digital marketing consultants, right? I want to be clear, I like them. No, seriously we work with consulting firms that develop plans, really good ones at that who engage with us to execute on their plans. It’s a great fit. Consultancies are also a great fit for an organization that has a high powered well-rounded team in place already but needs some strategic guidance to move them in the right direction or gives them the confidence they are spending their energies in the right places.

See, win-win. The key is to know what you are looking for when you go shopping. If you are looking for some strategic help that you know you are positioned to execute on then a consultancy might not be a bad choice. But if you are in a position that you know you need to get ahead of this digital marketing thing, your days are stretched as it is and you don’t have a marketing team on the bench just looking for work to do then an agency that helps with the strategic, as well as the tactical, is the way to go.

Merry Marketing, Profitable Prospecting and Digital Dreams.

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