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What's The Difference Between A Consulting Agency And A Creative Agency?

For a very long time, advertising and marketing agencies and web design agencies have relied on creative brilliance to support their clients. However, with the introduction of digital media such as Facebook and Google AdWords, diagencies now have to integrate creative design with digital marketing in order to help businesses meet today’s digital trends. And while many agencies and companies understand the vitality of digital media in the current business world, many organizations still face challenges when implementing digital strategies:
  1. Agency and corporate marketing departments are used to working in silos. As a result, many marketers don’t know how to talk to IT and IT workers often don’t understand marketing.
  2. A lot of senior leaders that understand business strategy lack knowledge in digital media while digital-savvy students fresh out of school lack the business perspective.
  3. Technical trends and best practices change so fast that it’s challenging to just keep up let alone spread across the organization.


As a result, many marketing agencies are brilliant in terms of creativity but fall apart in the technical implementation. Examples are beautiful websites that don’t convert or rank high on search engines.


That’s why Smartt has taken the approach of a consulting agency, which combines business, marketing, and IT to deliver measurable results. Through a consulting agency, you’ll be able to attain support in creative work such as logo creation and technical implementations such as a website audit or digital marketing audit. Here are the 9 advantages of working with a consulting agency over a creative agency:
  1. Acquire assistance in assessing and implementing technological tools

    A consulting agency allows you to have access to the latest, most suitable digital marketing tools to augment your customer-base and revenue. While creative agencies mostly focus on design and often outsource the IT components to other partners, a consulting agency creates and executes all digital media strategies in-house. A consulting agency can help you integrate CRM systems, implement Universal Analytics, and optimize your AdWords campaigns. This in turn can help you effectively target today’s digital-savvy consumers.

  2. Receive consulting based on the latest digital marketing and IT best practices

    While digital media is rapidly changing, consulting agencies stay up-to-date. Whether it’s Facebook’s new targeted-advertising feature or Google’s new search algorithm, consulting agencies are always equipped with the latest digital tools. This allows consulting agencies to help their clients to not only design websites that are intriguing but also implement tactics that promote their clients’ brands digitally. For instance, a consulting agency can help their clients design an appealing website while adding SEO attributes that improve the site’s SEO ranking and web visibility. Creative agencies on the other hand can only help the client design a fantastic website but can’t help with the finer technical details. This will deter the client from effectively promoting their products or services through prominent digital channels.

  3. Obtain cross-functional services

    Every company needs a different kind of consulting service. Some may need assistance in branding while others may require support in digital marketing. With consulting agencies, you’ll be able to select from 4 types of services: Branding, Website Development, Digital Marketing, and IT Services. With this selection, you’ll be able to find a service that truly fits your need – especially if you think you need assistance in one area but actually need help somewhere else. By working with a digital marketing agency, you’ll be able to go through a thorough screening process where you’ll clearly identify areas that your company needs improvements. Conversely, with creative agencies, you’ll be able to only receive help in creative design. For instance, you can ask a creative agency to design a new brand logo but you can’t seek advice in implementing an advanced analytics program.

  4. Receive research reports regarding industry insights and assistance in the application of these insights

    A consulting agency will conduct research on your industry in order to come up with digital media approaches that best suit your field. For instance, if you’re a Vancouver metal manufacturer, a consulting agency will do a research on B.C’s metal manufacturing history, the process of metal production, companies in this field, as well as current and forecasted challenges. This will help the consulting agency consider various industry-specific factors when creating your web strategy. Conversely, a creative agency in this situation will only be able to produce designs that impress the audience but may fail to convert prospects into customers.

  5. Gain access to cross-functional project team

    A consulting agency ensures its teams are working closely with your company’s internal departments to achieve the overall organizational goals. A consulting agency will assign an account executive specifically for your company to make sure the agency’s own IT, marketing, and sales teams are working collectively with your internal teams to enhance your web presence. This in turn will increase workflow efficiency and maximize the output. Creative agencies on the other hand won’t be able to develop synergy between internal and external teams as they’re only responsible for developing creative designs.

  6. Attain help in applying “magic” with “logic”

    Consulting agencies use data and research to support their suggestions and implementations. A consulting agency would use external data such as the regional population growth rate as well as internal data such as your website’s conversion rate to decide which digital approach best fits your needs. For instance, if your shopping checkout cart is 6 pages long and 89% of your shoppers leave the checkout cart on the third page, a consulting agency not only will create new web designs to enhance your website’s appeal but also reduce your cart to 2 pages long so that your consumers will have the patience to complete the order. That said, if you worked with a creative agency in this situation, you would receive assistance in web design but nothing in relation to strategic implementations.

  7. Receive help in implementing metrics and measurements

    In God we trust; all others must bring data

    W. Edwards Deming

    A consulting agency can help you implement different metrics and measurements to examine your business performance. Whether it’s metrics such as return on investment (ROI) or bounce rate, measurements allow you to critically examine your marketing efforts. Moreover, by setting metrics and measurements, you’ll be able to identify areas where you need to improve on. For instance, if you find out that your bounce rate is increasing steadily by 1% week-over-week, you’ll realize that you need to develop new, intriguing web content to increase your visitors’ engagement levels. However, while metrics are critical to a company’s success, creative agencies can’t help their clients in this area. Though creative agencies are experts in the creative field, they lack understanding in the technical aspects of digital marketing which are crucial to businesses today.

  8. Acquire assistance in understanding business insights over reporting

    A consulting agency can help you explore the meaning behind each figure or stat in your report. By digging into each figure, a consulting agency can strengthen the different areas your business currently needs help in. For instance, if your report shows that your company’s conversion rate is declining steadily by 2% in the last 5 months, a consulting agency will help you improve your conversion rate by bolstering your digital channels to increase traffic and including strong call-to-actions on your website to encourage purchases. Creative agencies on the other hand don’t offer this type of service at all.

  9. Hold the consulting agency accountable for results

    If it doesn’t sell, it’s not creative

    David Ogilvy

    A consulting agency is not only responsible for the design and implementations of your digital marketing initiatives, but also the outcomes. By working with a consulting agency, you’ll be able to set a defined goal such as increase revenue by 10% and hold the agency responsible for the results. If the agency fails to meet the expectation, you’ll be able to discuss with the agency to see how the agency plans to improve the program’s performance. Creative agencies on the other hand aren’t responsible for the performance at all. They’re simply obliged to develop creative designs.

Now that you know the differences between a consulting agency and a creative agency, we’d like to know a little more about you.
Let us know your current challenges, needs, or questions for a complimentary first meeting with our Business Development team.
If you’d like to meet with us, give us a call. We’ll be happy to show you some of the work we’ve done with our clients, and see how we can help you.