Creative Agency and Marketing Agency: Differences Between Them

Differences between a Creative Agency and Marketing Agency

What are we talking about in this article?

Creative thinking, new ideas, design, and problem-solving, these are the starting points of any advertising or marketing agency. But what differentiates them? Logos, lead generation, apps, prints, SEO, media production, web design, brand development. We all know these words, they are usually lumped together under the umbrella of The Industry. Today let’s take a look, isolate the variables, and clarify some common misconceptions.

What is a marketing agency?

Marketing agencies are businesses that use market research and develop strategies to promote a company’s service or product. They offer a broader picture and a consultative style for their partners, helping them evolve, administer and implement a marketing strategy in order to accomplish a defined business goal.

Some marketing agencies are able to recommend the correct marketing tactics for each specific business, a lot of marketers have a corporate in-house background and have gained vital experience for working in the area.

A marketing agency basically can help you develop and perform a communication program with a clear and determined role. 

This marketing capacity is more relevant in today’s market, in the form of digital marketing agencies, marketers had to adapt to the evolving technologies and get into the digital landscape. The differentiating factor for digital marketing is that it is data driven, and is more specific, more selective. Working with the internet by researching consumers and deeply analyzing data gathered, they can deliver messages accurately and direct them to the correct targeted people, at the right time.

Digital marketing performs effective marketing campaigns via technology use, tool, and software implementation, and creating content for helping clients grow an online business presence. 

What does a marketing agency do?

A marketing agency can help a business with the following: Website design, development, and copy. Sometimes they can even help with branding issues. One of their specialties and more common tasks is content production and management. Online advertising and social media management are also typical duties. The core differences of marketing are copywriting, data analytics, and business marketing strategies for reaching the target audience.

This is why marketing has a more strategic approach to business growth. They take on the job of having a more active lead generation procedure with their campaigns. Deep research is needed for these programs to be effective, the actual consumer is informed and has the ability to check every corner of the internet for the same quality product, only cheaper. This is where the typical creative mind comes into work. 

Marketers have designed strategies for working with the web and going with its flow. Developing websites and apps, using SEO marketing (search engine optimization), advertising, content creation like blogs, videos, images. Improving email marketing, and generating brand engagement, social media marketing, data analytics, ROI assessments, online lead generation. These are some of the tools marketing agencies use for helping their clients satisfy their business needs and take them where they want to go.

Creative agency

What is a Creative Agency?

Communication programs and direct marketing are the specialties of an advertising agency. Advertising teams have many different creative types, they include employees with media planning skills and experience with delivering a concrete and clear message to their target audience. An advertising agency can create and deliver campaigns with a clear strategy, it is not common to run an advertisement campaign without any plan of action or blueprint.

This is where the confusion starts, as ad agencies are also capable and should implement and develop some marketing resources in order to run effective advertising campaigns. Just like marketing agencies need to use certain tools born from ad agencies. Hybrid agencies are not uncommon, and you should always look for the right agency for you, the right fit for your business and industry. 

That being said, there’s an important distinction between advertising agencies, there are holding companies, independent agencies, and small businesses like boutiques. Larger operations have substantial resources and connections that can be used to tip the scale in your favor. On the other hand, niche and boutique agencies have a more flexible capacity and can accommodate your needs in a truly personal way, with low overheads, in an agile and responsible way. And last but not least, you could also be in need of a creative agency

Creative agencies are the undisputed branding specialists. They are the best in the industry at performing product and marketing design. There are two main things you should know about creative agencies

First, they excel at combining innovation and advertising methodologies in order to present a company with a clear and identifiable aesthetic, with a cohesive branding experience for the consumer. In the second place, they give a lot of attention to the user experience on every digital platform any person may use. May it be an e-commerce site, or a curated product performing the same way across every corner of the digital world, it will excel thanks to the efforts of what we could almost call a branding agency

They sell a creative service, including branding, market research, product launching, content creation, social media advertising, regular advertising, to name a few. They focus on creativity and innovation. 

What does a Creative Agency do?

Advertising agencies, simply put, are the ones responsible for creating the overall content and visual elements of a brand. They take upon the role of expanding your brand across every media. Traditionally this meant creating media content, or subcontracting it, and running ads on TV, radio, print, as a marketing service for improving product selling numbers. 

The coming of the digital age did not change this basis so much. You should just add digital advertisement to the list, and yes, that includes using at least some research and digital marketing strategies.

An advertising agency creates every aspect of the brand identity, they are the visual managers. This includes tasks and elements like logos, color schemes, banners, copywriting, email newsletter design, infographic design, packaging, digital video ads, TV ads, print, and even billboards. 

Could they be a digital agency too?

Let’s start by discussing what exactly a digital agency is. They are advertising agencies that rose to the occasion when the internet permitted the conquest of a new market. The landscape changed forever, and agencies needed to change with it. 

They encapsulate the tradition of advertising while manipulating new technologies and taking advantage of new market areas. Their main strength is the utilization of graphic design and copywriting in new and modern marketing ways. 

They specialize in finding creative solutions and adapting to the ever-changing terrain that is the digital world. They manage this by creatively employing art, data science, engineering, traditional ad formats with new marketing techniques. 

The services offered usually amount to web design and development, app development, search engine marketing (like retargeting and PPC), social media marketing, content marketing. As well as online lead generation, online branding, media platform campaigns, email marketing, ROI assessments. Sound familiar? That’s because they share many services with marketing agencies and advertising agencies, but they are not the same. 

Differences between Digital and Creative agencies

Let’s start by saying that the success of any agency campaign will depend on your brand or business’s needs. What you require for improving your brand awareness will change depending on where you are and where you want to go. You can’t build a pool house if the main building is a ramshackle spectacle. Well, you could, but it would look awful and it would be a resource waste. 

For example, a startup will need a solid identity for their brand before launching an extensive lead generation marketing campaign. The same goes for companies that are looking for growth and scaling their operation, their goals are surely more attainable by a digital marketing agency. This is not to say that once a brand identity is attained you will never need to use an advertising agency ever again, likewise you will also need marketing strategies for a starting business. Each case scenario will demand analysis and a small organization diagnosis.


Digital agencies will help business owners with the identification of potential markets, and clearing the differentials between their own brand and the competition via market analysis. They help improve your business positioning and reach a broader audience.

On the other hand, creative agencies go another way. They approach optimization on the basis of refining the user experience. Their focus is to streamline and enhance the target audience’s experience by applying effective visual and graphic strategies for better message delivery. Their research and design are user-focused and graphically outstanding.

So if your brand requires market research or user research will depend on your business needs. Before deciding you will need to take stock and set a clear set of expectations.

Time and intent

Creative agencies do what their names say, they bring forth creative solutions that not even the founder of a business could see. They will design your brand for the long run, with the intention of making it permeable for evolution along the years and the market fluctuations. Basically, they will help you improve upon your brand identity and if need be, transform it according to the research done.

Digital marketing agencies take care of specific targeting, they will be focused on digital content optimization and brand design, but it will not take into account a long-lasting identity. They will focus on the best digital marketing solutions for your brand and what it has to offer right now. They will not develop the basis for future evolution. And that’s OK, if what you are looking for is scrum-like lead generation, a digital marketing campaign is exactly what you want. 

Creative agency

What is the difference between Creative and Marketing agencies?

The differences are similar to those regarding creative and digital marketing. Marketing is used for helping enterprises in the short and mid-term. While brand identity developed by an advertising agency is a long-term endeavor.

This shift between them radicates on the nature of both types of agencies. As marketing revolves around the current event on the market and the business’s industry present affairs, the designing of a campaign will work today but may be obsolete in a few months. What works now, can be counterproductive tomorrow, and a marketing process that is not even possible could be the key for the day after tomorrow. 

The technologies used are not brand new but are in constant evolution, and as such, they require a skill set that is constantly being updated. That’s the added value for businesses, they do not carry the capacity to set up each time there’s a technological advance. Since it consists of short sprints, marketing plans need to show results almost in the immediate time frame. 

Advertisement agencies take care of branding, which is a long bet, it involves developing and nourishing long-term relationships with clients. And this is the creative aspect of the added value an ad agency can offer their customers. There’s a reason there are so many aspects of products and brands that take design to the next level.

The psychology behind advertising is changing along with the media used nowadays. Identity is key and you may not even be aware of the reach a marked and designed product ad can have on you.

They communicate your brand’s purpose and story with words, but more importantly with an aesthetic, with a climate, with an intuition-based language that goes beyond a simple logo or color scheme. It creates a cohesive content organism that breathes along with your business and evolves with it.

Creative agency

If you are searching for your new advertising and/or marketing partner then we encourage you to take this decision as seriously as possible. First, take stock of your business’s needs. What is the scope you are looking for? Do you know your target audience? Can you easily define your business’s identity? Do you know your mission? How much are you willing to spend? What are the differentials between you and your competition?

The first step for knowing your needs is learning about yourself. If your branding is spotty, then no matter how good the marketing campaign is, they have insufficient prime material to work with. And if your brand identity is strong, pleasing, and outstanding, it will do nothing for your business if no one knows about it, or if you can’t keep up your profit due to a bad conversion rate.

If you wish to start the journey of your business self-improvement, we recommend starting by analyzing your operation. At COR we have the tools for that, if you want to learn more about how we can help you request a demo today.