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What’s the difference between Ad Agencies vs Consulting Firms?

What’s the difference between : Ad Agencies vs Consulting Firms ? Whom Should You Hire for Solving Business Challenges after Covid-19? Here is A Quick Guide about the debate By TheDigitalFellow

07 Sep, 2022

Whom Should You Hire for Solving Business Challenges after Covid-19?

Here is A Quick Guide about the debate  By TheDigitalFellow Whom do you need for your Business? And how will you decide?

Now hear carefully and Know the difference with the help of comparison and contrast.


1. Area of Expertise

Ad Agencies work on Specific marketing domain

Consulting Firms work on Specific business domain market


2. Area of Knowledge Base

Ad Agencies work on   Creative-driven solution approach on branding & Marketing

Consulting Firms work on  Knowledge , Intelligence , Insights, Forecast, Data driven approach on Markets, Industries, Segments, Category & brands.


3. Area of Guidance & Advising

Ad Agencies work with Marketing team in an organization for marketing ROI

Consulting Firms work with Senior management for business performance


4. Area of Core Problematic issue  Identification

Ad Agencies helps Identify core marketing problems

Consulting Firms helps Identify core business problems

5. Area of Goal setting in business

Ad Agencies do Design brand communication for achieving marketing  goals

Consulting Firms  Provide objectivity while setting business goals

6. Area of Goal achievement

Ad Agencies Help achieve marketing goals

Consulting Firms Help set overall business goals


7. The Need to Hire Them

Ad Agencies work on Customer facing solutions primarily design oriented  

Consulting Firms work on  Business & customer-facing challenges


8. Reason for Hiring

Ad Agencies drive Creative supply & help Designing the look & feel of the brand

Consulting Firms To drive business strategy


9. Solutions Provided

Ad Agencies work on  Solving marketing challenges only

Consulting Firms work on  Solving all business challenges

10. Who Can Hire Them?

 Ad Agencies are generally  Hired by CMO/Marketing Head

Consulting Firms are generally  Hired by CEO/MD/ Shareholders/Core stakeholders



11. Approach to Work

Ad Agencies Work with CMO

Consulting Firms Work with CEO/ Founder/MD 


12. Supplement to Team

Ad Agencies Supplement marketing department in an organization

Consulting Firms Supplement all departments in an organization


13. Initiating Change

Ad Agencies Helps/ upgrade/  the last mile connect between brand & customer experience

Consulting Firms Helps upgrade  people, process, product, technology


14. Approach to Knowledge

Ad Agencies With creative knowledge fuel the marketing speed & efficiency Consulting Firms Use industry/category/ segment knowledge to fuel business growth  

15. Approach to Client’s Teams

Ad Agencies Cannot resize/ train/ any team, including marketing team

Consulting Firms Can advise business leaders for resizing / training/ upgrading personnel across departments


16. Method and Competence

Ad Agencies are Creative driven

Consulting Firms are Business, data &  Knowledge driven


17. Work on Strategy

Ad Agencies Work on sales & marketing strategies

Consulting Firms Work on business strategies

18. Area of Influence

Ad Agencies Seek to influence a client’s customer through ads

Consulting Firms seek to influence al groups for the clients, specially stakeholders


19. Interaction with Client Team

Ad Agencies work with the marketing teams & processes, market stakeholders, customer base of a client, touring the marketing dept

Consulting Firms work  with all departments in a business organization, meeting the directors, CXOs, touring the facility, auditing the finances


20. Larger Frame of Reference

Ad Agencies drive  Brand mission & vision

Consulting Firms drive Organization’s mission & vision


21. Capacity to Audit

Ad Agencies May conduct a brand audit to identify marketing strengths & weaknesses

Consulting Firms Conduct overall business audits includes brand audit, finance audit, people audit, process audit, tech audit to identify strengths & weaknesses

22. Approach to Client’s Business Assets & Liabilities

Ad Agencies May not be invested in setting client’s business assets & liabilities

Consulting Firms Consider managing a client’s assets & liabilities a part of their scope of work


23. Approach to New Market Opportunities

Ad Agencies: May develop advertising solutions for new markets

Consulting Firms Predict , forecast ,Identify new market opportunities for a business & develop a feasibility & impact of its business plans for the same


24. Persistence Required

Ad Agencies Need to be persistent with the client in the face of demands for further options in design and creatives

Consulting Firms Need to be persistent when meeting resistance from top management regarding key decisions involved regarding business strategy


25. Methodology

Ad Agencies do Micro level execution

Consulting Firms do Macro and micro level strategy, advice, recommendations and executions.


26. Main KRAs

Ad Agencies work on Marketing goals, marketing ROI, metrics of customer acquisition & retention,

Consulting Firms work on Business growth, year on year growth, feasibility study, business forecasting, business challenges, reducing turnaround time, minimising all types of operation TAT like buying cycle length/duration


27. Impact of Work

Ad Agencies  Impact marketing & branding

Consulting Firms Impact business growth & performance


28. Ways to Get the Best out of Them

Ad Agencies Should be given creative freedom by the CMO & marketing team

Consulting Firms Should be empowered by CEO & MD to take all difficult decisions


29. Personal Interaction

Ad Agencies Should be encouraged to provide constructive criticism regarding existing brand communication

Consulting Firms  Deserve to be allowed complete liberty to investigate the issues and records deeply & be trusted with data

 So the Moral of the story:

Your decision about whom to hire for solving your business challenges after Covid-19?

Ad Agencies? Who give ideas for ads? Or  Consulting Firms?

It’s time to rethink your old business models


30. Will you need better copy & better ads?


Will you need ways to grow your business?

You should not miss the top-performing blogs of the month: What Brand Custodians Ought to Know about Digital Marketing Agencies and Website Audit: Is Your Website Suffering from a Lack of Audit?

Let us know about your experience of working with ad agencies and consulting firms.

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