Companies have been relying on creative agencies for decades, even before the advent of the internet. It was the job of the creative agency to deliver all the artwork, colors, and branding associated with a business using the artistic talent of the people it employed. It was a kind of one-stop-shop for company executives who had great business ideas but didn’t have the foggiest on how to sell them.
Then things changed. With the rise of the internet, marketing became a distinctly technical activity. Not only did you have to understand branding, but you also needed to have an intuition of how it interacted with new digital alchemy, like SEO.
The result of this was total confusion. Company executives and managers didn’t know who they should turn to for help. Should they go running into the arms of creative agencies to provide them with all the graphic designers and print design services that they needed? Or should they try their luck with the emerging band of digital marketers promising them search and social dominance? It wasn’t entirely clear. Everyone was confused.
What Is A Creative Agency?
At root, a creative agency is an old fashioned design company. Businesses use creative agencies to churn out all their artistic concepts, mostly for print, but sometimes for scanning and uploading to their websites. Most creative agencies are digitally naive. They hire people who did well in art school but don’t have a clue how SEMrush, Google Analytics, Google Ads works or any of the other esoteric tools you need in a digital marketing campaign.
Creative agencies also have a different focus from digital marketing agencies. Most of the time, they’re not all that bothered with marketing at all, especially the practicalities of it. They hope that by creating beautiful designs, logos, and striking colors, their clients will be able to attract customers as a byproduct. The job of actually marketing the company, the creative agency assumes, is the task of somebody else.
If you go to the site of a creative agency, you’ll find an overwhelming focus on the company’s visual products. The portfolio is almost entirely shots of what the company creates instead of a showcase of the marketing success it has had. Rarely will you see advertising like “boost your conversions by 50 percent” or “get a better ROI.” The whole enterprise is far more qualitative.
What Is A Digital Agency?
A digital agency is a different animal. It’s very much at ease with the world created by the internet, and it knows the strategies that companies should adopt to do well in it. Digital agencies help business managers with things like online advertising, web design and development, e-commerce consulting, and search engine optimization. They have in-depth knowledge of the tools that digital marketing firms must use to be successful on these frontiers. Digital agencies worth their salt know how to tweak your online advertising campaigns at a micro-level, build websites that will display images in the blink of an eye, and construct effective checkouts on eCommerce websites. Add in anything technical, and they excel.
There’s no doubt that digital agencies are incredibly important to the modern digital advertising ecosystem. Companies rarely know how to create potent advertising campaigns: they need people with the technical skills to do it on their behalf so that they can compete with their peers.
The problem with digital agencies, however, is that they tend to lack that creative spark that you need to get an advertising campaign off the ground in the first place. Sure, they intimately understand the SEO landscape, and they know which setting to adjust on Adwords, but they’re often tinkering at the edges. The quality of the branding and advertisements themselves tend to be lacking.
When you hop onto the website of a digital agency, you’ll often find a menu of services. It goes something like this: content creation, SEO services, web design, PPC advertising, and “social” – whatever that means. It’s a kind of “a la carte” approach that lets you choose one thing or another and ramp up your marketing efforts in several areas.
Want to rank higher on Google? No problem – just choose SEO. Want to increase your ROI from your PPC advertising? Again, no problem. Just select their paid-search assistance and get them to tweak and test your campaigns. Want to speed up your website? Choose their web design services.
You get the picture: it’s all about refining and optimization of your existing marketing efforts, tailored to the digital jungle. It’s not about creating that killer look that will draw in customers, thrill them, and make your brand world-famous.
Combining The Two
As you can probably guess from the preceding discussion, there’s a strong case to be made that marketing agencies should combine the two. Businesses want the creative flair of creative agencies to create stunning advertisements, and the digital know-how of digital agencies to get them in front of real eyeballs online. A company might go from one to the other, but in practically every case, it would be better to have an agency that did both. Then the creative designers could work directly with the technical wizards to come up with a scheme that would synergize both approaches. The wizards could tell the creatives the type of artistry that works on a particular platform using their data. And the creatives could come up with designs that the wizards could never hope to develop themselves. If it happened, it would be a match made in heaven.
But can it? Will it? Do you have to choose between a creative agency and a digital one?
No, as it turns out, – you don’t. The great thing with zo is that you get the best of both. zo is chock full of creatives and wizards, all working together in seamless harmony. We are a full-service creative & digital marketing agency that specializes in white-glove services, building both the branding visuals and the online apparatus to give you the most potent marketing campaigns possible. Just Reach out and connect with our tribe today and see all that we can do for you.