What’s the best choice for my business: A Marketing Agency or an Advertising Agency?

When it comes to investing in marketing, small or medium sized businesses often face a confusing number of choices – and are at greater risk if their choices don’t yield results. Many growing businesses understand that an agency partner can offer a greater value than an in-house team, but how do you choose? The terminology alone can be confusing. For example:

How do you choose between a marketing agency and an advertising agency?

First, let’s examine the difference between Marketing agencies and Advertising agencies.

Advertising: The paid promotion of a message, usually in the form of online ads, television, print, radio, outdoor advertising, or other paid placement. Advertising is just one form of marketing.

Marketing: The comprehensive planning, implementation and control of a variety of targeted activities designed to connect a business with its audience. These activities may include advertising, but also extend to a much wider set of variables such as your brand identity, tone of voice, personality, logo, website, social media activity, events, email campaigns, brochures, catalogs, signage, co-branding, and more.

There are agencies that specialize in advertising, but most modern “Marketing Agencies” will offer solutions and delivery in both areas.

To decide whether you need a marketing agency or an advertising agency, ask yourself:

  • What skills do we have internally to meet our goals?
  • What additional services and skills do we need?

Then consider your options. Below are a few of the most common:


 If you have the internal resources (a marketing specialist on your team) and experience to confidently do the strategic and development processes needed to prepare your product or service for the market, then you can probably go straight for an advertising agency to get your product out there.


If you don’t have the internal expertise to ensure consistent, efficient marketing implementation then you may be better served by a comprehensive marketing agency. Look for a multidisciplinary team with a solid portfolio of work that matches your needs. Once you have a solid brand and communication strategy, you can always bring in a specialized advertising agency to handle direct and online marketing (if your marketing partner does not already offer these services).


Many marketing agencies offer Integrated Marketing Solutions, which include advertising and promotion as part of the overall marketing package. The obvious benefit is a streamlined process and a team of experts that understand every aspect of your marketing and business goals. Working with just one agency from development to delivery also makes it easier to flow-in important additional communication pieces as needed, such as exhibitions, seminars and customer relations programs, an important value that gives you the flexibility it takes to remain competitive in a constantly shifting marketplace.

An integrated marketing agency like Symbicore will not only work with you to put together a comprehensive marketing strategy, they will also provide you with everything from a modern, engaging website to social media management and ad campaigns.

Contact us today to learn more about our integrated marketing solutions, designed especially for growing businesses. Also check out our other blog posts about marketing…

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Stanislav Dylenok

Minsk, Belarus

Work as digital marketing team-lead specialist for canadian clients in Symbicore’s team, providing strategic marketing for customers in fields of christian education, logistics, realty business, IT, and etc
I graduated from the IPM course (under the CIM program) “Marketing Professional” as the best in the group. I also have a diploma in working with key employees of client firms (Up & Up course). At the moment I am undergoing training in CIM on the specialty “Digital marketing Strategy”

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