Digital Marketing Agency VS Creative Agency – What’s the Difference?

Design and creativity have always been integrated with marketing and advertising. In order to have a successful marketing campaign, you need good design, whether it be logos, website design, or any other promotional material.

Visuals are becoming more and more important in marketing, especially since the industry is saturated with new and creative content every day.

However, because digital marketing and design/creativity often go hand in hand, it’s easy to confuse whether or not you need a digital marketing agency or a creative agency. Most business owners don’t know the difference and end up hiring the wrong agency.

creative agency versus digital marketing agency
For this article, we want to help you make the right decision by discussing the key differences between a digital marketing agency and a creative agency. Let’s start by defining each one.

What is a digital marketing agency?

A digital marketing agency does the job of advertising agencies online. It’s basically an evolved form of advertising that takes your traditional methods to the next level.

Marketers needed to adapt to the ever progressing digital landscape and technology. It’s a way to keep up with the times.

Unlike your traditional advertising methods, digital marketing is more targeted and data driven. The internet has opened doors for marketers to gather analytics and in-depth information in order to deliver an accurate message to the right people and the right time.

Digital marketing fuses marketing with technology, content writing, and visual design. This makes for a highly creative mix of art, psychology, engineering, and problem solving to help businesses provide consumers with solutions.

Digital marketing agencies produce effective marketing campaigns using technology, tools, and softwares available online. Their campaigns may include creating websites, landing pages, online ads, mixed media (video, images, graphics), website content, and social media marketing to help your business grow an online presence.

A typical digital agency will help you with:

  • Website design
  • Website development
  • Website copy
  • Branding
  • Content production & management
  • Online advertising
  • Social media management
  • Copywriting
  • Analytics
  • Business/marketing strategy

What does a digital marketing agency do?

Traditional advertising agencies would often produce ads for businesses on television, radio, or print to market products or services to consumers. It took a lot of time and money, but with little certainty that it would work.

These days consumerism has reached an all time high, with people willing and able to access products and services at a tap of their fingertips. Because of this, digital marketing takes on a more strategic approach towards marketing and advertising.

Digital marketing agencies also tackle a more active lead-generation approach towards developing campaigns. Thorough customer research is done and a more targeted branding strategy takes place.

The internet and the information age has made consumers more and more savvy when it comes to their buying behaviour. It’s so easy to find a business that sells the same products, with the same quality, for cheaper. This is why digital marketers need to be more creative and strategic.

Digital marketers can keep up with consumers, while most business owners can’t.

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“We want to know what consumers are looking for, what their values are, and how we can meet their needs. It’s not just about Big Data; it’s about translating that into the truth.” – Gayle Fuguitt
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Designing and developing websites or apps, SEO marketing, advertising, social media marketing, content production and management (blogs, videos, graphics, photos), brand engagement, online lead generation, brand development and management, email marketing, analytics and ROI assessments are some of the things digital marketing agencies do.

Social media graphics for the business launch of Little Fluffy Head.

It takes a lot of time and effort to fully grasp the different elements that make up digital marketing. You need to have a deep understanding of marketing, consumer behaviour and psychology, and the different mediums to successfully help a brand flourish and grow through digital channels.

Pros and cons of hiring a digital marketing agency

If your goal is to generate more leads, increase sales, and grow your business overall, then you need to hire a digital marketing agency. If you’re still on the fence about it, here’s a quick pros and cons list to help you decide.

Pros:

  1. Quality – Digital marketing agencies consist of a team of creative professionals who are experienced in producing high-quality work in their field. These agencies have great internal quality control to make sure projects run smoothly.
  2. Order – Agencies are separate establishments, which means they have their own organized way of handling things. They can easily meet the requirements of large and small companies without a hitch. As outsiders, they can always assess and provide objective criticism on your marketing and help you without any biases.
  3. Credibility – Marketing agencies are easier to trust. Their process has more structure and it’s easy to check their legitimacy online.
  4. Results – Results are a given when working with a digital agency. Agencies provide concrete proof of the results via analytic softwares.
  5. Volume – Digital agencies are able to handle large amounts of work because they have an entire team to work on it. Each team member has their own specialty all while being familiar with other marketing elements.
  6. Flexibility – If you need anything on the fly, digital marketing agencies will have no qualms making it happen.
  7. Cost – Working with a digital agency is more cost efficient than hiring an in-house team.

Cons

  1. Communication – Or should we say miscommunication. It could happen. The way you describe what you want may be different from how an outside agency might interpret it. So, it may take a while for an agency to execute your vision.
  2. Workload – You won’t be the only client an agency will service. A good marketing agency will be able to manage workflow to make sure the needs of clients are always met.

When and why you need one

Digital marketing agencies provide businesses with cost-effective solutions. With digital marketing, marketers are able to target your audience and create campaigns that cater to them, saving you more money than a traditional advertising agency.

In fact, working with a digital marketing agency can:

  1. Help you focus on your business – Teaming up with an agency can help you focus on what you do best – running your business! The agency can handle everything for you: they have the tools, the expertise, and the experience. There’s no learning curve and you can spend your time working on your business instead.
  2. Cut down costs – As we’ve mentioned, hiring a team of digital marketers can help cut down your advertising costs. You won’t have to spend on software and gear, nor will you have to worry about salary and bonuses that you would if you hired in-house. Aside from that, your advertising spend is put to good use, since you’re actually marketing to people who are interested in your business.
  3. Stay relevant – Competition is becoming more and more fierce online, it’s only right that you stay relevant and remain at the top of people’s brains. Digital marketers will do the research and the work to keep your business present in the digital sphere.
  4. Get new ideas – Sometimes it’s better to look at your business with a fresh pair of eyes. You’re a little biased when it comes to your business, so it’s easy to miss the things you may be doing wrong. A digital marketing agency will always be up ton date and on trend; they can give you a fresh new perspective. They will provide you with ideas and new techniques to better handle your marketing campaigns and make sure you get results.
  5. Deliver measurable results – Digital agencies can help you track your results. Agencies will determine your key performance indicators (KPIs) to help you figure out how your campaigns are performing in accordance with your goals and objectives. They can provide you with metrics to give you clear insight into your campaign.

If you feel stuck and can’t seem to generate any results through your online campaigns, just don’t have the time, or don’t know where to start, contact a digital marketing agency like us and we can help you grow your business to new heights.

How to choose the right digital agency

Digital marketing agencies have the experience and the expertise to grow your business. Choosing the wrong agency to hire can lead to wasting time and money. Look at reviews on sites like Clutch, Google, and Yelp to find highly rated agencies either in your area or agencies that specialize in remote work.

Whether you’re looking for help with strategy, web design, social media, or something else – Just Digital can help you. We’re a Los Angeles based digital marketing agency that believes sustainable growth starts with a strong marketing foundation. We can do all the services mentioned above regardless of your location. Need help? Send us a message.

What is a creative agency?

Creative agencies may not be words you hear often. The term itself is very vague and mysterious. So, what is a creative agency?

There actually isn’t a clear definition of what it is; however, creative agencies often combine strategy and design to produce content strategically. Content is produced in order to satisfy the needs, wants, and goals of the consumers.

A creative agency will handle everything, from solving your problems to creating solutions that will last through design and creativity.

Creative agencies are a relatively new phenomenon. They often focus more on the design aspect and partner up with marketing consultants or firms to create designs that produce results.

What does a creative agency do?

Creative agencies tend to dabble in many different things. Most of the time, they offer digital design services and print services. Creative agencies are known as branding experts for their ability to capture a company’s essence in design.

A typical creative agency will help you create:

  • Logo designs
  • Digital art or prints
  • Letterheads
  • Business cards
  • Website design
  • Icon design
  • Graphic illustrations and vectors
  • Photo and video content

Kubix Media Office, a creative agency, explains how creative agencies are often divided into two work categories. First there’s digital, and second print.

Digital

Creatives all have their own different mediums when it comes to their craft; some are more into traditional, while others are more into digital. Digital-focused creatives design and produce work for the online world. There’s animation, video animation, graphic illustration, web design, posters, etc. Any digital art you see that promotes a brand likely has a creative agency behind it.

website by a creative agency
Website design by Just Digital for Simour Design.

Print

The word itself is pretty self explanatory. Anything you see printed on book covers, vinyls, flyers and posters, catalogues, stationary, etc are made by creative agencies. Some people focus on digital, while others create art to be printed.

stationary by a creative agency
Stationary design by Just Digital for Simour Design.

Pros and cons of hiring a creative agency

Like everything else in this world, there are pros and cons to working with a creative agency. Here are a few.

Pros

  1. Visual appeal – Obviously, not all of us are gifted with artistic talent, and even fewer have taken that talent and made it into a real skill on a professional level. You need an experienced creative to give your brand consistency, appeal, and the right message to help your audience trust you. Brand awareness is not necessarily tangible, but it is a huge asset to your business. For the sake of your company, choose a professional to establish your visual identity.

    visual identity by a creative agency
    A sample of a visual identity by Just Digital.
  2. Cost efficient – Just like with digital marketing agencies, hiring a creative agency to do your bidding is cheaper than hiring an in-house team, providing office space, and buying equipment and software.
  3. Uniqueness – Successful brands are the ones you can differentiate from their competitors. These brands have something unique about them that sticks in the minds of consumers. To fully maximize your brand, work with a creative agency that can make your brand stand out.

Cons

  1. Focused on creativity – Since this is a team of creative professionals, it’s easy to keep their focus on the visual aspect of your business. Although building your brand is important, the numbers matter too! If you’re looking for someone to increase conversions and get you more leads, a creative agency may not be the way to go.

When and why you need a creative agency

How do you know it’s time to get creative?

There are a few situations where we would recommend definitely looking into a creative agency to help with your brand and overall look.

The first is when you’re just starting out. There’s nothing like putting your best foot forward with a solid brand that’s going to serve you for years to come. A creative agency can take into account your audience, your message and tone, your values and the things that make your business unique, and translate that into a visual identity. Trust us on this one, don’t go with a Fiverr logo and call it a day. Your brand, and all of its visual elements, matter.

logo rebrand creative agency
YesMasters asked Just Digital for a brand refresh, so we created a more modern version with a new logo symbol.

Another scenario where you want to talk to a creative agency is when you’ve gone a couple years without touching your look. The world moves fast, and it only takes a couple years to look outdated. We’re not saying you have to do a brand overhaul every 3 years, but you should definitely be looking at some touch ups that will keep you current and keep your customers engaged.

 

How to choose the right creative agency

Businesses who want to work with a creative agency may have trouble choosing the right creative team to work with. To help you with your decision, look at some of our tips below.

  • Make sure the agency understands your goals and what you want from the partnership. Both of you should be on the same page.
  • Review previous projects of the agency to get a feel of the quality of their work, expertise, and dedication.
  • Work with an agency that’s enthusiastic about your project.
  • Ask about the process and management of the project.

What’s the difference between both?

digital marketing agency vs creative agency

In simple terms, a digital agency focuses more on marketing strategy and execution, while a creative agency focuses more on brand design, content creation and production, and anything that involves building your brand identity.

You can say that a creative agency’s job is to help create the visual message of the business, while the digital marketing agency’s job is to get the message across to a targeted audience.

Conclusion

Both agencies have their own strengths and weaknesses. More often than not, these two agencies will end up working together for a project, with one outsourcing to the other.

It all really depends on what your business needs at the moment. For some, it could just be marketing, while others need to work on their brand image and identity first. It’s still best to have both; however, both agencies need to be able to communicate in order to not let the message get lost in translation.

Need help with both? We can help.

Just Digital is a digital marketing agency that can do both. We’re a team of creatives and marketers. Contact us here for more information and questions.