Marketing Agency VS Marketing Firm (What Do They Actually Do?)

I’m the founder of an marketing agency.

My clients often ask me – What the difference is between a marketing agency and a marketing firm and what they do?

In this article, I’ll uncover this difference and explain all their work processes.

Keep on reading.

Anatolii Ulitovskyi

An agency consists of many independent agents that work within the agency – which the owner has found, provide value for their clients.

There are different types of agencies with many specializations – trade, broker, marketing, insurance, etc.

A marketing firm consists of employees that work in a team with the same purpose of finding and providing value for the clients of the firm.

Marketing agencies and marketing firms have the same meaning for their clients.

The term “marketing agency” is more often used than the term “marketing firm” because it generates higher volumes and more clicks on Google.

The term "marketing agency"

When searching for a marketing agency or firm, don’t trouble yourself with the technical nitty gritties – it’s better to choose reputable professionals.

Most marketers provide low-quality jobs in order to only earn money.

Helping their clients is not their main purpose.

Do you think it would be possible for you to pay $100 for marketing services that gives traffic that brings sales to $10K or more?

All your competitors would like to get this traffic and sales for this cheap price.

It’s impossible to have a marketing budget that amounts to only 1% of your revenue.

According to CMO Survey, the average rate for B2B and B2C segments is a marketing budget of around 6-11% of their revenue.

The industries such as banking, finance and insurance pay 15,6% of their revenue; retail and wholesale segments pay 2,5%.

Expected percent change in marketing budgets in next 12 months

Don’t look for a cheaper marketing quote, look for better quality marketing.

Check out the average price for marketing services in the USA, Canada and United Kingdom on the infographic below, according to Credo.

The average price for marketing services in the USA, Canada and United Kingdom

If you want to choose reputable professionals you need to know what they actually do because if you don’t, they could provide you with reports that are not worth the paper they are printed on.

SEO is a long-term process, so it’s important to choose the right team.

How do marketers actually promote websites?

Before starting any promotion, marketers analyze your website as well as your competitors’ websites in order to find the best methods of promotion.

There are two types of promotion: you either have existing traffic or you start from scratch.

91% of websites don’t have any organic traffic, only 0,3% of websites have 1,001 monthly visitors generated from organic search.

The most parts of websites don’t have any traffic.

The biggest problem of many site owners is that they want to compete with famous websites.

Consumers don’t know about their websites – why should Google pay attention to them?

In the beginning, if you don’t have traffic it’s often better to compete with similar websites.

As an analogy, imagine you like boxing and training a lot.

Could you compete in the world championships in a few short months?

No, you couldn’t.

Firstly, you need to win many local and national tournaments, thereafter, compete in international tournaments.

Only then, once you have been noticed, boxing organizations will give permission to start taking part in large international tournaments.

Search is no different.

By competing with similar websites and starting small, you’re gaining experience and knowledge in order to outrank bigger websites in the future.

Where to start?

In the next chapter, you will learn how to analyze your competitors and find related keywords.

Related Keywords

There are a large quantity of popular SEO tools and four simple effective methods of finding keywords.

I will also teach you how to use SEO tools correctly because many SEOs don’t use all their functions.

As a result, they can’t rank their websites while trying to compete with big brands.

You will learn how to find related keywords with low levels of competition.

First step is to find ALL the relevant keywords in your niche.

There are many useful SEO tools such as Ahrefs, Semrush, Moz, Majestic, Spyfu, Serpstat and Ubersuggest, to name but a few.

By the way, Ubersuggest is 100% free, but it’s primitive compared to the other tools mentioned above.

It’s useful for small projects only.

Second step is to make groups of the related keywords.

Match grouped related keywords to your website pages.

If you don’t have pages that are relevant to all your grouped keywords – make notes in your content-plan for creating them.

Don’t try to promote everything at once, rather choose more related and relevant keyword for your business.

Don’t think about volume only as there are many other important parameters such as keyword difficulty, predicted traffic, CTR (Click through rate), CPC (Cost per click) and so on.

It’s important to pay attention to low keyword difficulty and high CPC because other websites compete in paid ads while ignoring organic search.

The third step is to analyze your competitors in order to find other related keywords.

I prefer this method more than listing generic keywords into small groups because your competitors have already found related keywords and have already ranked them as well.

Let this serve as a tip for you.

The fourth very important step is to find old outdated content in your niche that still ranks high and generates organic traffic, even today.

The article you are currently reading, I wrote simply because of an outdated article with content about “Marketing agency vs marketing firm” that I found on Ahrefs.

Search for obsolete topics in Ahrefs

On the TOP-10 there are other high ranking pages, there is more outdated content to write about.

High ranking pages

If your website ranks high there is another functional tool called “Content Gap” on Ahrefs.

Insert your competitors website URLs and check where they rank on the TOP-10.

Functional tool called "Content gap" on Ahrefs

On the screen I have shown bigger websites in my niche and someday I’ll outrank them.

We are done now with keyword ideas, so let’s take a look at user experience before creating content.

UX (User Experience)

UX is the most important part of digital marketing.

UX determines how customers will treat your website and also determines how Google will rank it.

Your purpose is to create something unique and something better than your competitors have.

Let’s dive in!

My friend Liam asked me – Why do I need to create something better for my keywords if there is low-quality content listed on the TOP-10 already?

He also added that the content is not unique and everybody sells the same products.

Liam is not alone, many of my customers ask me the same question over and over.

The answer is simple.

These pages have achieved the TOP-10 already, but you want to replace some of them or even outrank the first position.

Google doesn’t rank websites if they contain the same content because there are many other of the same pages already ranked.

Why should Google choose you; what makes you better?

Have you read the book “Purple Cow” by Seth Godin?

The main idea of this book is that customers separate a purple cow from the other colored cows.

Google records user behavior on all websites – if your website has better parameters of dwell time than your competitors – you will automatically rank higher.

Dwell time indicates how often users return to a search system after opening your content in order to find better or other results.

Dwell time does not have the same meaning as time on site.

For example, if people read your content for five minutes and they are not pleased with the results, they might return to other search results instead.

This means that time on site is five minutes and dwell time is also five minutes.

The opposite situation is that users are happy with your results.

On average, they read your content for three minutes and they don’t click the back button in order to return and check for other results.

Then time on site is three minutes, but dwell time is much longer and higher for Google, as well as other search systems.

Your purpose is to satisfy people and give them what they want.

For ranking, dwell time is much more important than time on site.

It’s a pity that there are no tools for estimating dwell time, and Google doesn’t reveal this information at all.

The best way to get around this is to analyze related parameters: time on site, bounce rate, page views, etc.

Check these related parameters for your website in Google Analytics and with the SimilarWeb Chrome application for your competitors.

Let’s describe the content creation process you need in order to satisfy your customers.

Content Creation

In this chapter, I’ll tell you how to create unique and ultimately, better content.

Which specialists you would need in your team in order to create high-quality content.

You’ll also learn the sequence of the process.

The best is yet to come.

Let’s go back to the first chapter, where you have keyword ideas and consider UX behavior from the second.

The next logical question is how do you create something better?

Insert your related keywords in Google search bar in order to check your successful competitors.

Analyze the pages on the TOP-10.

Analyze and break down their structure, their texts, the pictures and graphics they use, watch their videos, analyze the infographics and search for other multimedia.

Basically, find their weak and their strong points.

The next step is to create something better than the pages on the TOP-10 contain.

Make their weak side your strong side, and vice versa.

The first step is to start from text writing, then go on to designing.

Some site owners start with designing and then try to add texts, using the admin panel or their web-developers add it for them.

This might look awkward for visitors.

Writing text is much more important, so start with that.

The rest will come later.

There are two ways of writing texts: write the text yourself or hire specialists to write it for you.

If you have excellent writing and language skills it’s much better to write the text yourself.

If you’re not a writer and you don’t possess the skills – find a native language writer who knows and understands your topic and has extensive writing experience in your particular topic or niche.

Don’t skimp with this step – choose the correct writer – as it could make the difference between not ranking or being number one in the TOP-10.

Here are a few resources where you can find a good writer:

My suggestion is that a good writer needs to have many positive reviews and a portfolio in your niche.

Do a test and ask at least 10 or more freelancers to write a 500 word article for you, in order to choose the best writer.

All their texts must be 100% unique and you must check for plagiarism, it must be well-structured and interesting.

It should also be useful and written considering your keywords.

Choose the text that sounds more interesting for you and draws you in and makes you want to read more.

Cooperate only with the best writers.

When the texts have been written, have them checked by an editor or check them together with an editor yourself because even Hemingway had his own editor.

Thereafter, give the text to your designer in order to design your page considering the edited text.

Don’t agree to the first variant of design.

In my experience, designers have the habit of creating better designs the second or third time around.

After approving the designed page, take the PSD-format or other format of your design in order to transfer it to your content-manager.

If your content-manager is unable to submit your design using the admin panel of your website, then ask a web-developer to submit it.

After submission, critically check what it looks like and correct awkward parts of the page in collaboration with the specialists in your team.

The last step is to check your page loading speed and internal optimization with this free Google tool – PageSpeed Insight.

To sum up: for high-quality content creation you need to have a good writer, a good editor, an artistic designer, a skilled content-manager and an experienced web-developer.

But I don’t want to stop here.

Digital Marketing

Even if you create the best content in the world – you should promote it.

If nobody knows about the existence of your content, why would they care?

Not putting all your eggs in one basket pertains to the right promotion as well.

Allow me to explain.

Digital marketing includes all online methods of promotion: SEO, social media & influence marketing, email marketing, paid advertisements, etc.

Big brands use all of these methods because of their overall, combined effectiveness.

If you want to be successful it’s important for you to consider all types of promotion as well.

Before starting any promotion, get to know your audience as well as your competitors in order to find effective marketing methods that will work for you.


SEO works perfectly fine for any niches because 96% of online people use search systems in order to find the required information.

Google covers 92% of all searches, Bing covers 2,61% and Yahoo only 1,9%.

The use of search engines to find the necessary information

It is imperative to create evergreen and long content for SEO because this type of promotion is done over a long period of time.

Content with more than 2,000 words ranks better on Google: blog posts, step-by-step guides, how to’s, products reviews, special case studies, etc.

Link building is the most difficult part of SEO and can be divided into white and black hat link building.

White hat link building is connected to email outreach and your existing content.

There are different types of outreach: guest posting, skyscraper technique, broken link building, promotional events, etc.

Black hat link building is forbidden by Google, this connects with spam-link creation, PBN (Private Blog Networks), automated submission, etc.

In my opinion, there is no future in using black hat SEO.

It’s better to avoid it altogether because Google picks up on external links that were created to manipulate search results.

Ask your marketing agency what type of link building they use because Google punishes websites for using black hat SEO with their filter named Penguin.

Social Media & Influence Marketing

Organic search doesn’t work the same way it does in social media, as it does in search engines.

There are two types of popular promotion: paid advertisements and influence marketing.

Paid ads might work perfectly fine in social media networks, but you must take into consideration the simple fact that the social media audience don’t come to buy.

You need to change their mood and in the process create brand awareness, as well.

Set up paid ads to your blog posts and remarketing campaign in order to create brand awareness.

Brand awareness helps your website rank higher on the TOP-10.

On average, customers need to see your brand seven times during a period of three months, before they decide to buy.

Social media networks are excellent places to meet your future customers a few times, first.

Another popular and effective way of creating a buying mood from a social media mood, is a webinar.

Create a marketing campaign with an informative and useful webinar.

During the first 30 minutes of your webinar, share useful information, combining it with your products or services and thereafter you then propose your consumers to buy, adding discounts or other marketing hooks.

Another way of promotion is influencer marketing.

You don’t need to pay Kim Kardashian a million dollars for one post on Instagram.

It’s better to find influencers in your niche that already have at least 10,000 followers.

Agree a suitable price with micro-influencers or offer them discounts for your services, in exchange for their services.

Email Marketing

If you already have your own database, then email newsletters work perfectly fine.

For collecting emails, set up forms and pop-up windows on your website.

People subscribe to your database if you provide value of content: free, useful blog posts, informative e-books, unique courses, interesting webinars and so on.

Email is the cheapest form of promotion.

Paid Advertisements

Google Ads is an extremely competitive instrument in getting leads.

Before starting a new campaign in Google Ads, create significant brand awareness in conjunction with excellent content.

If customers don’t know you, they will buy from famous websites because they trust them as they are big brands and customers know and trust their quality.

Once you’re sure that your content is in fact better than the content of your competitors, only then set up and test ads campaigns with A\B-testing.


There are millions of marketing agencies and firms on the Internet.

Don’t trouble yourself by worrying about the difference between marketing agencies or marketing firms – they are basically the same.

Marketers who offer cheap prices for their services, provide low-quality or fraudulent services in order to get a few payments.

Think twice, order once.

It’s better to equip yourself with the knowledge of what marketers provide in order to control and handle their jobs.

Before starting any marketing campaign, learn from your competitors and find related keywords and topics in your niche.

Check out and assess all important parameters: volume, level of competition, CPC, traffic, etc.

Consider user experience behaviour before creating high-quality content.

Create content in conjunction with professionals: writers, editors, designers, content-managers, web-developers, etc.

Utilize A\B-testing for your digital marketing in order to find the best strategies that work for you.

Don’t be left in the dark.

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