Agency vs Consultancy: What to Know Before Committing

Group of 6 markets discussing agency vs consultancy services for business

It’s not uncommon for many businesses to need a new, expert perspective or a helping hand as they enter the next phase of growth. And these days, obtaining this resource isn’t a matter of hiring full-time or contract positions. Rather, external support is proving smart and cost-effective, since it doesn’t come with the cost of investing in increased overhead and training.

Instead, you have two options for getting this expert help: a consultancy or an agency. Both consultancies and agencies have the resources to help you plan for growth and achieve your goals of customer acquisition, market expansion, increased revenue, and more.

Now, the question is, who should you hire? Let’s go over the difference between an agency vs consultancy and how each can help your business grow, from strategy development to execution and measurement.

What is an agency?

Agencies, like a digital marketing agency, are composed of a team of experts in a specific field or industry. A digital marketing agency, for example, has experts in SEO, paid ads, social media, web development and design, content marketing, conversion rate optimization, and more.

Agencies tend to be nimble and project-based. They offer a set of services built around campaign development. For instance, if your goal is to drive your search engine rankings and website traffic, or launch a new product and acquire new customers through paid ads, an agency provides a suite of services tailored to these goals.

What is a consultancy?

Meanwhile, a consultancy or consulting firm provides higher-level, industry expert support. Compared to an agency, a consultancy is more involved in the strategy phase: developing a growth strategy that informs each campaign and ultimately meets long-term business goals.

Simply, consultants provide a big-picture view of the current state of your business, challenges experienced, and goals for growth and sustainability. With a view toward the long-term health of your business, consultants may not be involved in individual product development cycles, projects, and campaign delivery. As a result, they’re likely working more with C-suite and other senior leaders on broader strategy development.

Agency vs Consultancy: Strategy vs Execution

Agency vs Consultancy infographic - Consultus Digital

In terms of agency vs consultancy, the main difference is in their role or purpose and level of involvement. Agencies can be seen as operating from the ground-up, since they’re more involved in day-to-day activities, such as campaign delivery. Meanwhile, consultancies have a more top-down approach since they provide strategic solutions that shape individual campaigns in line with broader business goals.

Let’s take a closer look at agency vs consultancy, and find out whose services you need and when.

Diagnosis and Strategy

Diagnosing the Problem: When to Engage a Consultancy

Once you have identified the need for external support, your first call should be to a consultant. This takes place once you have identified a major challenge that’s impacting your ability to move towards the next phase of growth. In some cases, you may be baffled by typical indicators like an established trajectory of revenue loss, yet are unable to find what’s causing it or what isn’t working in your current processes.

At this stage, if you’re still choosing between an agency vs consultancy, it’s best to go with the latter. For many businesses, engaging an external consultant provides a clear, untainted perspective. More crucially, a consultancy brings deep industry expertise that may not be readily available internally, making it more cost-effective than hiring and training.

How a Consultancy can Help

As discussed above, a consultancy will provide you with a long-term strategy for addressing current challenges, allowing you to move into the next phase of growth. A consultancy will work with internal teams who own the impacted work, as well as senior leaders to develop a strategy and provide expert recommendations. Essentially, they will provide a roadmap from diagnosis to strategic solution.

Execution—Getting the Work Done and Seeing Results

The Real Work Begins: When to Engage an Agency

Once a strategy is developed, it’s time to get to the meat of it and get work done. This is where an agency comes in. Agencies provide detailed campaign-level support that builds off the broader long-term strategy. 

How an Agency Works

Agencies develop, execute, and measure results from campaigns across various channels, essentially functioning as an extension of your in-house team or an entirely outsourced marketing department.

Unlike consultancies, agencies get down to the most operational levels. Whether it’s designing a creative and a landing page, or creating content and driving SEO, agencies provide a suite of services that is scalable to the size of your project and the broader goals it supports.

Finally, in terms of results, agencies report back on detailed campaign or project metrics, versus consultancies that may track the growth trajectory over time. Essentially, agencies provide a detailed, day-to-day, month-to-month, or annual picture of growth, while consultancies aggregate these results into a fuller view of what has been achieved and how you can progress to the next stage of growth afterwards.

The Consultus Digital Approach: A Combined Consultancy and Agency Approach

At the end of the day, it shouldn’t be a choice between an agency vs. a consultancy. In fact, it’s not uncommon for companies to require the expertise of both to map a long-term strategy for growth and develop ground-level solutions with reliable and actionable milestones. 

And even better, Consultus Digital offers both high-level industry expertise and campaign management solutions to help you achieve your business goals. Simply, you shouldn’t have to choose between an agency vs consultancy, when you need and can get both. Now, you can benefit from a full view from strategy development to execution, with actionable, data-driven insights and expert solutions, all in one place.

Let’s Build and Execute Your Strategy

Together, we’ll analyze the current state of your business and create a roadmap for growth strategies, and work with you to execute them. With services ranging from developing a digital marketing strategy and optimizing your sales process, to campaign solutions like SEO, Google Ads management, paid social media ads, content marketing, and more, our hybrid approach to consultancy and agency methods ensure complete follow-through, transparency, and sustainability.

Choosing between an agency vs consultancy? Get the unparalleled expertise of both, from strategy to execution, measurement, and long-term growth. Talk to our experts at Consultus Digital today.

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