The differences between a marketing consultant and a marketing agency you should know

Contrary to popular belief, a digital marketing agency and a marketing consultant are fundamentally not the same thing. And we should know! But so often, the lines get blurry – especially since when you are searching for support the two requirements often get mixed together. 

So let’s clear things up. 

What are the differences?

A marketing consultant and a marketing agency provide two different services and operate in different ways. Here we list the key differences between the two: 

Scope of Services: 

  • Marketing Consultant: A marketing consultant is typically an individual professional who offers expertise and advice in specific areas of marketing. Consultants often specialise in particular industries or are marketing strategists, supporting companies with a range of requirements such as customer journey mapping, customer retention strategy, brand and trust, social media, market research etc. They provide strategic guidance, develop marketing plans, and offer recommendations to improve a company’s marketing efforts. 
  • Marketing Agency: A marketing agency, on the other hand, is a full-service company that offers a wide range of marketing services under one roof, and often support both the strategy and the tactics of delivery. Agencies have teams of professionals with diverse skills, including designers, copywriters, social media managers, SEO specialists, and more. They can handle comprehensive marketing campaigns and often provide end-to-end solutions for clients. 

Structure: 

  • Marketing Consultant: Typically, marketing consultants work independently or as part of small consulting firms. They may collaborate with other consultants or contractors on specific projects but generally operate with fewer resources compared to marketing agencies. 
  • Marketing Agency: Marketing agencies are organisations with multiple departments or teams. These agencies have the capacity to handle larger and more complex projects, thanks to the diverse expertise and resources they possess. 

Partnerships: 

  • Marketing Consultant: Marketing consultants often work with a limited number of clients at a time so that they can work in partnership with your organisation. They often focus on building long-term relationships with a few key clients or take on various short-term projects. 
  • Marketing Agency: Marketing agencies typically work with a broader range of clients, from small businesses to large corporations. They are equipped to handle multiple clients simultaneously, often juggling various projects at different stages of completion. They often supply account managers to manage the relationship and requirements between their client and delivery teams 

Cost: 

  • Marketing Consultant: Hiring a marketing consultant can be more cost-effective for smaller businesses or companies with specific needs. Since consultants generally have lower overhead costs, their fees might be more affordable for targeted consulting services and can often be more agile in adjusting their output to a company’s specific needs. 
  • Marketing Agency: Marketing agencies, due to their comprehensive services and larger infrastructure, often come with higher costs. However, they can provide a higher level of support and a wider range of expertise, which may be worth the investment for companies with extensive marketing requirements. Marketing agencies prefer to work on a retainer basis and often require a longer-term contractual commitment. 

So where do Context Marketing Consultancy fit in?

We are a small team of Marketing Consultants and Strategists, looking to work with you and your organisation to optimise your marketing performance. This can be looking at marketing campaigns and identifying areas of improvement and opportunity to make them more effective, reviewing your marketing technology to understand how you can use it better to get deeper insight into your customers. Or to simply offer support and guidance to senior leadership in understanding marketing opportunities and how marketing needs to be prioritised to drive business goals. 

We offer marketing consultancy across Hampshire and Dorset but can support organisations further afield. We believe that context matters, in your marketing, in your organisation and to you customers. Simply contact us to see how we can support you in achieving your strategic goals. 

Want to know more?

Get in touch below and we can have an informal chat to understand what your needs are, listen to the pain points and to understand your vision.

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