The evolution of modern business is reflected in the growth of digital agencies. The concept of a digital agency, being relatively young, is clouded, vague and varying. The term is generally used to describe an agency to which a business (the client) outsources the work of designing, developing, maintaining and promoting its website. Of course, you could find a digital agency which only provides the design and development services, but more often than not they describe themselves as ‘full service digital agency,’ which means they offer the whole package.
Where a digital agency is employed to promote and manage a brand’s online strategy, as in most cases, it are often compared (favourably or otherwise) to traditional agencies. The term traditional agency simply means advertising agencies using more traditional channels and media, such as television and print, in place of the internet. It is sometimes thought that digital agencies, which are by their very nature young and constantly evolving, lack the knowledge and experience of traditional agencies. This assertion is totally wrong: whilst it is true that digital agencies don’t have the decades of experience that traditional agencies boast, the industry in which they specialise is so new that nobody has experience in it! Furthermore, although it is a mistake to believe that all principles of traditional marketing and advertising can simply be applied to digital marketing, it should be remembered that many of the most successful digital marketers and advertisers came from traditional agencies bringing with them much experience. Whilst these people understand traditional advertising and marketing techniques, they do not seek to shape the internet to fit these approaches: they seek to shape their approaches to fit the internet and the consumer.
The blinkered belief that traditional marketing strategies will work if applied to the internet is causing countless traditional agencies to fall behind their competition, the full service digital agency, in the race for clients, especially as consumers shift their attention from television to the internet. Traditional advertising techniques cannot be applied to the internet, since the internet is fundamentally different from traditional channels. Online readers are less inclined to read long pieces of text, so words must be incredibly well chosen. The internet offers dialogue and interactivity between consumer and business, in a way that television and print never could. As a result websites must be easy to navigate; because for online shoppers it is incredibly easy to turn around and find an alternative if a website doesn’t offer them what they want, when they want it.
Because of the immediacy of the internet, it is very important that your brand is seen first. This is why search engine optimisation, a service offered by digital agencies, is growing so quickly. Making sure brands are placed highly in Google rankings is not something that traditional agencies can relate to. And, although pay per click campaigns make this possible, they are often costly and inefficient. Digital agencies can manage SEO and PPC campaigns on an ongoing basis, producing results.
To conclude then, digital agencies work towards the same goal as traditional agencies: brand awareness and sales. They do it using a different medium, which in turn requires different areas of expertise. But as their industry grows, the importance of brands’ digital presence is only going to increase, so now is the time to consult a digital agency.