Is a Digital Agency a better choice than a Digital Marketing Consultant?

Marketing is the pillar of every successful business, with digital marketing being the strongest branch when it comes to advertising. In today’s Digital Age, digital marketing is your best investment if you want your business to grow. This is no longer an option but something that every serious entrepreneur must use.

However, deciding to upscale your marketing comes with another decision to make. Whether to hire an agency or consultant for your digital marketing.

Many entrepreneurs do not know which option is better for them and why. Some are not aware there is a distinction. When they opt for the least expensive, the reason is often their lack of understanding or faith in the effectiveness of digital marketing methods.

This article will explain the difference between an agency and a consultant and which one is the better choice for your circumstance.

But first, let’s expand on the definition of both.

Digital Marketing Agency

A digital marketing agency is a team made up of technical specialists. It’s an outsourced team that will execute your marketing tactics. The number of employees in a digital agency can range anywhere from two to hundreds. Hiring an agency may break out of the “comfort zone” of established rules, but it can fill resource gaps and bring new energy or ideas into the business.

Agencies usually have experience in various areas of digital and will repeat a strategy that has proven to be effective. In addition, agencies follow trends and are familiar with all the digital marketing tools.

Digital Marketing Consultant

A marketing consultant can be independent or work with an agency.  Businesses hire a digital marketing consultant to create and implement online strategies that will help a business move forward.

An independent marketing consultant is someone with a high degree of knowledge and experience in their respective field. They do the groundwork; the planning work that ensures that the right strategy is put in place. These consultants deal with market analysis, customer targeting and studying competition. The work of the marketing consultant is often solo, however they can bring guidance to the internal team when it comes to implementation.

On the other hand, a digital marketing agency employs entire teams of experts that work on execution and creating effective marketing content. It’s the done for you solution vs the doing it with you one.

The Services of a Digital Marketing Agency vs Consultant

Not all digital marketing agencies are the same. They also differ in the range of services they offer. Thus, some agencies offer a complete service from creating and hosting websites through social media and copywriting. Some agencies are narrow or specialised in a certain area, such as a specific social network or SEO.

It is also more difficult to control the agency. That is why it is important to find an agency that will be more than a service provider. Instead, they should be a well-coordinated team that will act as a marketing partner so together you can promote your brand and grow your business.


As someone who analyses your business from the side, a digital marketing consultant will approach the work from a different perspective. They easily put themselves in the client’s shoes.

Due to the fact that their personal reputation is on the line, a consultant may be more invested in delivering ROI. A business should not be deterred by the fact a marketing consultant may have a limited set of skills as they know how to bring in expertise from outside the organisation.

It’s when you need specific tasks done that a digital marketing agency is the better choice. They employ experts in every position, be it social media, design, analytics or email marketing. Their expertise may be in social media or design, or they may excel at creating email marketing campaigns. Just keep in mind that agencies may be less focused on ROI and more on reach and branding.


Having highly analytical skills, a digital marketing consultant will build, plan, and support the best marketing strategy for your channel. If you have an in-house team that will execute what your consultant recommends, working with a consultant is your better choice.

Otherwise, if you don’t have the team to execute the consultant’s strategy, you are better off hiring a digital marketing agency.


A consultant doesn’t have the capacity of the entire team. Hiring an agency is probably more expensive, but you get the cross functional team of experts.

Doing everything in-house can be costly. You may have a person who will post things for you on social networks, which is great. But you will often need the services of a professional photographer, website developer, or graphic designer as well, just to name a few.

Ultimately, hiring individuals for each of these activities will inevitably cost you more than a full service agency. Also, if you are not satisfied with the performance of the agency, you can usually terminate the contract before the deadline without additional costs and penalties.

When to Hire a Digital Agency?

A digital marketing agency will bring multiple experts to the table who will get your marketing done for you. Here is when you should hire a digital marketing agency:

  • Your advertising needs to be more competitive in search or socials
  • You need to reach new customers
  • Your in-house resources are limited
  • You don’t have the funds to hire an in-house marketing team
  • You spend too much time on marketing instead of focusing on business growth

When to Hire a Digital Marketing Consultant?

Think of a digital marketing consultant as the strategist and planner. They focus on business and setting up for success. This is when you should hire a digital consultant:

  • You are lagging behind your competition
  • Your current in-house marketing team fails to deliver results
  • You lack in-house expertise
  • It would help if you had a new perspective and a second opinion
  • Your marketing efforts need enhancement

Which one is right for me?

When deciding which service provider to hire for your digital marketing, you should check:

  • Your budget
  • Your time
  • Your goals/needs

If you need a new marketing strategy or an expert to guide and up-skill your internal team, a consultant is your better choice. However, if you need the strategy to be executed and you lack the resources in-house, hiring an agency may be the better idea.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to getting ROI from digital marketing. There is no ideal one-size-fits-all solution and which service provider is right for you is entirely dependant on your needs. You need both great strategy and great execution. So where are you in the journey? If you are unsure, it’s best if you contact a digital strategist for consultation first. Together, you’ll be able to develop a plan and help your business grow.

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