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Marketing Agency vs. Marketing Consultancy

Marketing Agency vs. Marketing Consultancy

If you’re up to date on what’s happening in the marketing industry, you know that consultancies have increasingly become a threat to traditional agencies. With the popularity surrounding digital technology, there has been a shift away from the creative approach of selling “big ideas” and a move towards data-driven marketing. To dig a little deeper into this, let’s take a look at the differences between an agency and a consultancy.

Definition

A marketing agency has the ability of handle all aspects of the advertising process. This includes strategic planning, creative, and production. Some agencies are full-service, meaning they offer a complete approach to marketing and advertising initiatives. Other agencies may specialize in a particular creative service, such as graphic design, video, or social media.

On the other hand, a marketing consultancy has expertise in strategies to engage customers and improve business opportunities, both through retaining existing clients and attracting new customers. Their focus is to help companies achieve defined and measurable goals. A consultancy typically helps businesses develop inbound strategies, implement marketing tools, drive traffic, generate and nurture leads, produce content, and improve SEO.

Process

A marketing agency is going to be more focused on executing creative. They are expected to know the best way to shoot a video or create a beautifully-designed website. When it comes to working with an agency, clients typically already have a marketing strategy in mind. For example, they may want to launch a new product or rebrand. Either way, there’s a clear objective and it’s the agency’s job to find the best way to execute it creatively.

Because of the conceptualization involved in designing creative assets, the turnaround time for an agency is longer than a consultancy. However, the main thing that separates an agency from a consultancy is their role in the marketing process. A consultancy will develop a plan to help your company grow, while an agency expects you to already have that figured out. They are the ones who provide the creative assets to support the project plan.

If you’re using a consultancy, it’s typically because you have a problem that you’re not sure how to solve. This could be anything from “why am I not getting traffic to my website?” to “how do I start generating more leads?” It’s a consultant’s job to identify a business-oriented solution to problems like these.

The consulting process begins with researching a client’s company and familiarizing oneself with their services, buyers, and competitors. Consultants immerse themselves in their client’s industry so they can better understand their goals and pain points. They take a data-centered approach to marketing, relying on analytics to inform their strategies. You can expect a fast turnaround from a consultancy as they are skilled in driving performance and producing quick, measurable results.

Which is right for you?

Now, you may be sitting there asking yourself, which option is right for me? It depends on your company’s needs. If you’re looking for quick results that drive revenue and growth, you should go the consultancy route. But if you’re looking for support in executing creative initiatives, an agency is the right pick. Looking for a little of both? There’s a third option- a hybrid agency/consultancy.

SmarkLabs is a prime example of this. We are a full-service marketing operation that create and execute marketing plans. We have a team of marketers who are skilled in growth strategy and a team of creatives who are experienced in graphic design and videography. Because of this, we’re able to handle every aspect of the marketing process and create consistent campaigns that produce reliable results.

To learn more about our services, drop us a line.

Looking ahead

The line between agency and consultancy is becoming more and more blurred. Consultancies are beginning to offer branding and advertising services while agencies are moving into digital technology. In terms of the future of marketing, many have argued that consultancies will dominate because the way people interact with brands is changing. It’s no longer about releasing big, flashy ad campaigns, but finding small and truthful ways to engage with customers and create personalized experiences.

HubSpot vs WordPress: Which CMS Is Best For Your Business?

HubSpot vs WordPress: Which CMS Is Best For Your Business?

No marketer can successfully do their job today without having a content management system (CMS) in place. Today content management systems allow you to not only edit, optimize, schedule, track, and format content, but also create websites and email campaigns. These platforms offer a collaborative environment where multiple users can work on accounts. However, each CMS varies in terms of its strengths. Whereas one platform may be the best for web design, another may be superior when it comes to blogging.

Arguably, the two most popular CMS platforms for marketers are HubSpot and WordPress. HubSpot was started in 2006 with the intent of helping smaller businesses compete, while WordPress began in 2003 as a personal publishing system. Both have evolved over time into full-fledged content management systems, offering a host of different tools to help anyone market their business.

If you’re wondering which platform you should use, look no further. In this article, we will evaluate both platforms by taking a look at 4 main factors: customer base, ease of use, personalization, and cost.

Customer base

Today, WordPress powers more than 30% of all sites on the internet according to wpbeginner.com. It’s used by some of the most notable brands, including Disney, Sony, and Microsoft. This large customer base means tech providers are likely to offer some type of integration or compatibility with the platform, meaning companies can save considerable time and frustration on tech integration when they use WordPress. Because of this, a company’s ability to be versatile is magnified with this platform.

According to a recent press release, Hubspot has 44,500+ customers in over 90 countries. This pales in comparison to WordPress’s massive ecosystem of 511,000+ active members, but it’s important to remember that HubSpot is a newer platform. However, being relatively new, HubSpot lacks the flexibility and advanced features that a more established platform provides. For this reason, HubSpot is largely still used by smaller organizations ranging from 1-10 employees per iDatalabs’ report.

HubSpot Graph

Source: https://idatalabs.com/tech/products/hubspot

Ease of use

With thousands of themes, templates, and plugins to choose from, WordPress allows anyone to easily build a website without learning code. In fact, WordPress offers more than 55,000 plugins to improve your site’s functionality according to SoftwareFindr. If you’d like to add something to your site such as complex gallery or forum, there are likely multiple plugins available for you to choose from. Find yourself stuck? Don’t worry- there are a gazillion YouTube videos at your disposal that show step-by-step how to use WordPress features.

WordPress Plugins

Source: https://wordpress.org/plugins/

Unlike WordPress, HubSpot has built-in tools and features so there’s no need for plugins. This limits the number of feature options a business has, but typically isn’t a problem considering HubSpot is largely used by small, enterprise companies in need of a simple site they can get up and running quickly. In addition, Hubspot offers a ton of resources in the form of blogs, ebooks, guides, reports, courses, and online groups. However, they are largely marketing-focused which can be a disadvantage if you’re looking for technical advice about design or development.

Personalization

Personalization is the key to converting leads. It offers the customer something that is relevant to them, which keeps them coming back to your website. While WordPress is great for creating beautifully designed websites, you’ll need to download additional resources in order to add personalized content on your site. Depending on what you want to personalize and how you want to personalize it, you may need to do some research to find the correct plugin.

When it comes to personalization, HubSpot has “smart content” and personalization built into their websites. This allows you to deliver content to customers based on where they are in the buying process. HubSpot even allows you to add your buyer personas to a contact list where you can then assign them a “smart rule” or personalized message. HubSpot research shows that “calls-to-action that are targeted to individuals had a 42% higher view-to-submission rate than calls-to-action that were generic,” thus proving targeted messages are extremely beneficial in reaching customers.

HubSpot Personalization

Source: https://www.hubspot.com/products/how-personalization-works

Cost

WordPress

There are two options when it comes to WordPress: WordPress.com or WordPress.org. WordPress.com handles everything for you- software, hosting, and managing a web server. It includes a variety of plans you can choose from ranging from free to $25 per month. Each plan offers essential features, free themes, and design customization.

On the other hand, WordPress.org is completely free and allows you to download software so you can host your own site. However, this option requires a separate web hosting account. The advantage is it offers more flexibility because you can install your own plugins, customize backend code, and upload your own custom themes.

Since WordPress is one of the most common content management systems, there are tons of developers and designers that specialize in the platform. Because of this, the cost to hire a WordPress developer is competitive and can be pricey.

HubSpot

In order to create a website on HubSpot, you’ll need to purchase their CMS. It’s available as a standalone product or an add-on to the sales, marketing, or service hub. It costs $300 a month but also gives you access to all HubSpot CRM features such as contact management, email integration, and Facebook & Instagram lead ads. Unfortunately, many of the features are limited. For example, you can only create up to 5 email templates per account and view contact activity for the first 7 days after a new contact is added.

Conclusion

When it comes to picking a website platform, WordPress is the best in terms of design and development. It offers versatility because of its large user base and advanced functionality with thousands of available plugins. In addition, people can enjoy greater ownership of their websites by downloading the WordPress.org software. However, if you’re mainly concerned with marketing and analytics, HubSpot is definitely a frontrunner due to its built-in optimization tools and in-depth marketing data.

Need help revamping your website? Drop us a line to learn how we can help.

5 Mistakes That Can Derail Your Product Launch Plan

5 Mistakes That Can Derail Your Product Launch Plan

Pulling off a successful product launch is never easy. It requires extensive planning and flawless execution. Many companies make the mistake of rushing their product to the market before doing the necessary research and preparation, which can lead to a disappointing reaction from buyers.

In order to help you achieve the best results possible, we’ve made a list of the top 5 marketing mistakes you should avoid when launching a new product or feature.

1. Constructing a poor value proposition

If you read our article The Top 10 B2B Value Proposition Examples (And How To Create Your Own), you know that a value proposition is important. It persuades buyers to purchase your product by stating what it offers and how it’s different from other brands. If your value proposition is unclear or wordy, you may need to rethink your product. Ask yourself, is my product unique? Does it solve a problem for my buyer?

In addition to a value proposition, it helps to create a story about your product that is relatable to your audience. According to The Insider, “a recent study suggests that by telling their brand story well, companies have the power to increase the value of a product or service by over 20 times.” Frame your product as a solution to a common problem or frustration your buyer experiences. Tell a story, either through video or compelling copy, and use emotion to communicate your product’s value in an authentic way.

2. Neglecting to develop a marketing strategy

When it comes to a product launch, marketing is everything. No one can buy your product if they don’t know about it. The best way to get people excited about your product is by rolling out a campaign across web and social. In order to do this, you’ll need a strong marketing strategy. Here are some marketing tips for a successful product launch:

  • Keep in mind who your audience is and determine what channels you should use to reach them
  • Establish your messaging or how you want to position your product- aim to communicate the valuable aspects of your product without going into too much detail about specific features
  • Design branding materials that tie all your textual and visual elements together in a cohesive way
  • Plan ahead and organize your content by creating an editorial calendar
  • Give your team enough time to roll out the product successfully and make sure there aren’t any conflicts with your product launch date

If you need help executing a marketing strategy for your product launch, contact us.

3. Assuming there’s a need for the product/feature/version 2.0

Don’t just assume your product is great and everyone will want to buy it. Conduct research and find out whether there’s actually a need for it. This should be the first step you take when you develop an idea for a product. Pay close attention to industry trends, buyers, and competition. Here is a list of 17 tools and resources you can use to conduct market research.

After doing research to confirm there’s a market for your product, take it a step further and build a prototype so people can test it. Once you have the prototype, you can do beta testing. This involves sharing your product with a small audience so you can gather data and make improvements before it’s released. Beta testing is basically a test launch and provides you with real-time feedback. It allows you to feel confident your product is ready to be put on the market.

4. Vaguely defining target audience

It’s important to make sure you’re targeting the right people with your product, otherwise, it won’t sell. Make your target audience as specific as possible by developing buyer personas. According to HubSpot, “a buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.”

Developing these personas allows you to paint a clear picture of your target audience with key details such as where they live, what industry they work in, and what publications they read. With this information, you’ll be able to form a better marketing strategy to reach your target audience.

To learn more about buyer personas, check out our blog post What Are Buyer Personas And Why Do We Need Them?

5. Failing to include a testimonial or user story

You can tell people your product is great and easy to use, but don’t expect them to just take your word for it. It’s crucial to build trust in your brand and that’s done through testimonials and user stories. Use the feedback you received during beta testing to create these narratives. People will be more likely to purchase your product if they know others had a positive experience with it. Share the testimonials and user stories in your marketing campaign and include them on your website for potential buyers to see.

Bottom Line

It’s tempting to overlook certain steps and rush your product to market for an immediate reward, but you’ll see more success if you invest time and resources into your product launch. Develop a strong value proposition, establish a marketing strategy, do extensive market research, create buyer personas, and showcase user stories. That way, you can be certain you’re offering a great product that buyers will love. Lastly, don’t be afraid to enlist the help of an agency that has the expertise and know-how to deliver results.

Drop us a line to learn how we can help with your next product launch.