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A Business Growth Agency vs a Traditional Marketing Agency: What You Need to Know

Read Time 11 mins Published Apr 20, 2022

You’ve probably heard a story like this before.

A traditional marketing agency gets called by a business. They set a date to meet to have a chat about what the agency offers and how they can help the business.

The business accepts, because they hear amazing numbers and growth percentage promises from the agency. They think they’ve found the holy grail of agencies and that all of their growth problems will be a thing of the past.

Fast-forward to a few weeks later.

The business is frustrated. They can’t seem to understand why the results promised by the traditional marketing agency in their meeting aren’t even close to what they’re seeing in reality.

They think: “It might just be a small mistake or, maybe, COVID makes it a bit harder to get those results.” What do they do? They keep waiting for the growth to appear. They start to think about all of the money being spent on the traditional marketing agency while it provides next to nothing in value.

The brand has paid the marketing agency for three whole months at this point and they’ve only reached a quarter of the growth they were promised to have within the first month.

At this point, the business simply stops working with the traditional marketing agency and prefers to do things on their own. They choose to spend that same budget on social media and Google ads.

They tell their friends who own businesses to never work with that agency because they don’t provide the results they promised.

And, unfortunately, they are back at square one.

So, what went wrong in this situation? Was it the owner’s fault for not asking for more information from the traditional marketing agency? Should they have asked for proof?

While yes, it could have helped if the business owner knew how the agency planned on growing their business. They could have asked to see the growth outcome of previous clients. However, the real issue was the agency itself.

This is an image of a business owner in a white t-shirt who grabs her head as she looks at her laptop.

The problem that has been growing over the past few years is that some traditional marketing agencies are looking to sell you their services no matter what.

They will talk to you about attaining incredible growth in a matter of weeks when, in reality, it doesn’t work that way.

So, what can you do to find a modern business growth agency that is willing to sit down with you and provide real metrics your brand can achieve?

Let’s talk about it.

They Look At The Bigger Picture

They Look At The Bigger Picture

When you hear “business growth agency,” what is the first thought that comes to mind? Is it an agency that increases sales? Or, maybe an agency that boosts the online presence of a brand?

There are several ways for you to look at a business growth agency in light of how it has been marketed to you in the past.

You’ve been told, “The agency is there for a specific reason. It’s to grow a particular part of your brand and help it flourish.” That’s how traditional marketing makes it seem.

What if we told you that a modern business growth agency should be looking to grow ALL aspects of your business?

Yeah, you read that right. A modern business growth agency is one that can provide you with results in almost every aspect of your brand.

This means they are in charge of boosting your social media presence, SEO, lead generation, and more. The days of traditional marketing agencies are in the past.

You may be asking yourself: “Why not just focus on one aspect of my business so it can grow faster?”

While in theory this is true, the reality is very different. Focusing on one aspect of your business to grow faster does the opposite effect on your brand.

We’ll share a quick analogy so you can understand it better.

Let’s imagine you bought a used car. It needs a lot of work for it to be running properly and looking its best.

This is an image of a mechanic with a wrench in their left hand as they adjust some cables inside a red vehicle.

You take it to a mechanic so they can work on it and get it ready for the streets. They tell you the suspension system is destroyed and they will need to replace it to get it back in the best shape.

You agree and let them do their job. When you’re back, they tell you the suspension is repaired and that you can take your car for a spin. You’re ecstatic and can’t wait to cruise around in your new and improved ride.

You get in. You try to turn it on…and nothing happens. The engine doesn’t want to start. You’re sitting in your car shocked since the mechanic said it was ready to go.

Turns out, the mechanic didn’t notice that the ignition and motor were also damaged and needed additional repairs. They may also have neglected to mention that the car needed new tires as well.

So, while yes, the suspension system is looking great, the rest of the car needs work for it to turn on and be ready to cruise in it.

Now, let’s say you take the same used car you just bought to another mechanic with a whole crew of people waiting to work on it.

They give you the rundown of all of the issues your car has and what they will be doing to fix everything.

They tell you that it will take time to do it because they have to make sure everything looks good before you take your car for a spin.

You go back after two months and you’re amazed at how great your car looks. They tell you to go and take your car for a quick ride so you can check if everything is in working condition.

You get in and it feels like a different car. Everything feels buttery smooth and you can’t believe how great it rides.

Now, let’s put this in perspective. Imagine the same situation, but instead of a car, it’s your business. Now your choice is between a traditional marketing agency that focuses on one aspect of your business, or a business growth agency that looks at the bigger picture.

The traditional marketing agency will focus on only one aspect and have it working well. But the truth of the matter is that your business doesn’t rely only on that.

This is an image of three digital marketing agency employees discussing a strategy for a client.

Think of your business as a machine that needs every cog to be properly working in unison with the rest. It doesn’t matter if one of the cogs is polished and lubricated if the rest are rusty and broken.

A modern business growth agency will focus on all aspects of your business because they know that every single element matters. While some are more important than others, they all serve a purpose and should be taken care of.

The point to be made here is that your brand needs several parts to be working together if you want it to grow. No traditional marketing agency can provide that. It’s one of the many reasons that you are seeing fewer and fewer agencies with that mindset.

So, we mentioned the phrase, ‘bigger picture’, but what does that mean exactly?

Let’s dive in.

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What Is The Bigger Picture?

What Is The Bigger Picture?

It’s everything that envelops your brand. Your social media strategy, your SEO, your local marketing strategy, etc. All of it.

As we said before, you can’t expect growth if you’re focusing on just one aspect of your brand. You can’t have tunnel vision when it comes to growing your company. You need to broaden your view and evaluate everything.

You need to ask yourself what parts of your business need the most attention, and which are working properly.

If you are unsure how to do this, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have a social media strategy in place?
  • Does your website appear on the first page of Google when someone looks up your main keyword?
  • Do you get leads from social media?
  • Are people signing up for your email newsletter?
  • If selling a product, do you have automated follow-up email messages if your customers abandon their cart?
  • Do you have a specific goal for your business?

By asking yourself these questions, you can assess how prepared your business is marketing-wise.

Now, take your time to really think about these questions.

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Maybe you couldn’t answer ALL of the questions, and that’s completely fine! It’s normal to not have everything in order all of the time.

That’s why business growth agencies exist in the first place. They should be able to pinpoint what your brand is lacking and how to make everything work together.

Two social media marketers edit and work on a strategy for a client on a Macbook.

This not only helps organize everything in the short term, but it lays the foundation for proper growth strategies moving forward.

OK, so you found that there are a couple of places where a business growth agency would be able to help your brand. But you’re still worried you’ll hire one that will provide you with unrealistic expectations and then underperform.

What can you do to find the right business growth agency for your brand?

You ask them specific questions!

Questions to Ask a Business Growth Agency

Questions to Ask a Business Growth Agency

These questions should help weed out the marketing agencies that look to sell their services no matter what.

Remember that agencies have different price points, and this is something to take into consideration before hiring. Only pay for a service you can afford, whether it improves your business or not.

Let’s start with the questions then.

How Would You Help My Business Grow?

This is the first question you should ask. Yes, it’s nice to know how they made a past client reach seven figures in a matter of months. But, you want to know how they can help YOU.

They should be able to tell you in which areas your brand needs work, and how they plan on fixing it.

Remember, if they at any point start talking about working on one aspect exclusively, then you should keep searching for another agency.

The ideal response of a modern business growth agency would be to explain that every part of your business is important, especially in digital marketing. They should show you which areas you are the weakest in and how they plan on making them stronger. They should also have a process and strategy ready to implement with your brand.

How Much Time Would It Take?

This is a good question to ask because it will help you get a sense of what to expect and if they are truthful with how long it will take.

The truth is, no matter how good a digital marketing strategy is, it still takes some time to set up and even more to give you meaningful results. A business growth agency would have to change a lot of things and lay a foundation so they can properly execute their strategy.

All of this means that if an agency is telling you they can provide meaningful growth in 2 weeks, then they are probably just saying it so you’ll buy their service.

This is an image of a clock in a black frame on a light blue background. The face of the clock is white and it reads “1:48”.

A good business growth agency will NEVER tell you that. They will explain how long the organization process takes. They will show you a step-by-step process of what will happen once everything is organized. And they’ll give you a rough estimate of what you might be seeing growth-wise after a month or two.

Remember, real growth that helps your business sell more takes time. There are no hacks or shortcuts, just plain old-fashioned work.

Never trust an agency talking to you about quick growth packages or selling you a service that they claim will boost your growth in weeks.

Do You Have Any Case Studies?

This is a perfect way to see how they work with clients and what they did for them in their time working together.

An agency should be able to give you several case studies, unless they’re new to the scene.

Again, just like before, you’re looking for specific things that will tell you if the agency is to be trusted or not.

For example, if they show you a case study but fail to explain how they managed to grow a brand’s online presence by 100% in 2 weeks, then you should be cautious.

If you are still curious about how it happened, a great way to know the full story is to ask for the client’s contact information. This way you can call or message them and hear how their experience was with the agency.

It should go without saying, but if you ever catch the agency lying on an important metric, it’s best for you to leave and find another one.

Are You Transparent With Your Process And Strategy?

Knowing what an agency will be doing to grow your business is very important. You don’t want to find out about shady marketing strategies before it’s too late.

This is an image of letters spelling out “honest” in different colors on top of a brown canvas background.

Remember, you want your company to grow because you want increased sales and for more people to know about the brand.

Now, what happens if the agency uses a weird strategy that doesn’t grow your business? Well, your sales won’t increase at all, so your main goal is already out the window.

There are lots of ways to grow a brand by using fake strategies, like buying followers on social media, or having bots make it seem like new people are signing up for your newsletter.

While these strategies make it seem like your business is growing, it’s all a lie.

You DON’T want fake followers or bots. You want real people who are interested in your brand and that will potentially buy your products or services.

An honest agency that wants to see your brand improve is transparent in its craft and open to explaining all parts of its strategy to you. They know how important growing organically is and they make it their priority.

What if an agency tells you: “It’s our private method and we can’t show it to anyone, even clients”? That is your cue to never work with them. Hiring a business growth agency is like starting a friendship. You can’t invite them to your house if you don’t trust them.

You need to trust the agency you hire, and complete transparency definitely helps.

What’s Included In the Service?

Knowing what they are offering you is vital. Packages should be clearly explained, since most of the time it’s a custom-built one. This makes it a bit harder to understand all that you’re supposed to get from the agency.

As we’ve mentioned several times before, they should be covering multiple aspects of your brand’s strategy, not just one.

In this image, a digital marketing employee in a navy sweater explains a new strategy to a client wearing a coral shirt.

It’s also important to ask the price breakdown of each service offered in a package so you can get a rough estimate of what you’ll pay on a monthly basis. Of course, this is after the initial strategy and foundation work are done.

This way you can make sure you can cover the service every month without any issues.

What Should I Expect If I Hire You?

This is another vital question for you to ask. It helps you know how much of your time will be needed on a monthly basis, as well as what account information and access you’ll be expected to give them.

A good business growth agency should have bi-weekly or monthly meetings with you to give you an update on how things are going. They should also be able to show you metrics at any given time.

Remember, a business growth agency should be as transparent as possible. You can even ask if you’ll need to outsource any other service, such as photography, or if they will orchestrate it all themselves.

Make sure to ask all of the questions you need before you accept a service of any kind. The best idea is to always be super sure of what you’re getting into by hiring an agency. They will most likely be willing to respond to any doubts you might have.

How Will You Measure Return On Investment (ROI)?

An agency taking their time to set everything up is fine, but there should be a point where you can start seeing results from all of the work.

A good way to know if there has been any improvement at all is to measure a certain metric, like customer acquisition, over a certain period of time.

This being said, you have to remember that business growth takes time. Don’t think for a split second that you’ll have a 100% sales increase in two weeks. The only way we can see that happening is if you hire a real magician to hypnotize your leads and get them to buy from you!

The first month will yield close to nothing in growth, and that’s okay. The first step to successful business growth starts with a good strategy and objective.

If after three or more months, your brand has only achieved a quarter of the growth promised by the agency, then it’s time to call them and ask what’s going on. While it does take time to see meaningful results, there should be steady progress after three months.

Not to mention that they promised a specific growth percentage after a certain amount of time had passed.

Why Does Business Growth Take So Long?

Why Does Business Growth Take So Long?

We’ve been mentioning in the article how business growth can’t be rushed or hacked to go faster. But, why is that?

This is because you’re selling and trying to get people to be interested in your brand. While we measure the overall lead generation and customer acquisition as a metric, we’re still marketing to people. This means there are hundreds of variables a growth strategy might or might not expect.

A group of digital marketing employees work and discuss a new client strategy and objective.

You also have to consider how much work must be done to your brand in order to get it ready to grow. Remember the car analogy? All of the pieces must be ready before any sort of growth is achieved.

This is why a traditional marketing agency fails to reach the growth metrics they claim. They focus on a certain part of your digital marketing and completely forget about the other important elements.

They can double down on, let’s say, social media. But, if your website and email follow-up messages aren’t good, then your sales will suffer. And, while having a good following on social media is great, it doesn’t mean much if you can’t convert a percentage of it into loyal customers.

Don’t get us wrong, sometimes focusing on a single element of your business is vital. But before that is done, there should be an audit to make sure everything else is working smoothly.

There’s a big difference between doubling down on social media while you have everything else in working condition versus doing it while your whole website is a mess. One drives potential clients to your website and the other drives the same people towards a huge disappointment.

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Why You Should Pick A Business Growth Agency?

Why You Should Pick A Business Growth Agency?

So far in this article, we’ve been talking about why a traditional marketing agency just doesn’t cut it anymore. But, we haven’t really talked about why a business growth agency is better and why it should be a no-brainer pick for most brands.

A group of digital marketers discuss the analytics of a client they are working with.

They Follow Modern Trends

A huge difference between a traditional marketing agency and a business growth agency is the ability to adapt. Marketing evolves at a rapid pace, and being able to notice the change and use it to your advantage is a huge win for brands.

Let’s talk about Instagram Reels, for example. This new Instagram feature caught the world by storm! While Reels are just like TikTok videos, having them integrated into an app like Instagram, makes it a lot more convenient.

A modern business growth agency would take this as a huge opportunity and double down on Reels. After all, the organic reach is way more effective than what you’d get from a normal post.

A traditional marketing agency might not have even noticed the emergence of Reels, or maybe they couldn’t be bothered to see the importance of this new trend. They could prefer to keep using their old strategies. While nothing is wrong with that, you as a client are still losing out on the organic reach Reels would’ve given you.

Jumping on trends and being one of the first to capitalize on them, be it on social media or digital marketing, is crucial for any brand. This especially helps if you want to outshine your competition.

Being an early adopter of new features on social media generally means free organic exposure.

They Cover Every Aspect Of Your Business

Yes, we talked about how a business growth agency works on all aspects of your brand in order to create a solid foundation for future growth strategies. What we didn’t mention was how they also have different teams for each aspect of your business.

Traditional marketing agencies tend to cover a smaller range of digital marketing elements, and therefore have a smaller staff. This means that if they get a lot of work from different clients, they usually have to delay meetings or push deadlines because the staff is busy working with other clients.

Three digital marketers work on a strategy for a client while they sit around a dark brown desk.

This is horrible for your brand because you’re still paying for the service and they’re not providing the results or meeting the deadlines they established.

A modern business growth agency will have specialists in different areas of digital marketing. This ensures you get the best service and that someone is always working on your brand.

You might be seeing a theme here when comparing a traditional marketing agency and a modern business growth agency. It’s the lack of change from the traditional agency compared to a smooth adaptability from a modern agency.

You want the agency you hire to have the answer to just about anything you throw at them.

They Aren’t Afraid Of Trying New Things

While having a safe strategy tends to work for most brands, sometimes to really grow, you need to shake things up. Even though a modern business growth agency knows this, a traditional one will not want to take those risks.

People are constantly bombarded with the same types of ads and posts on social media and Google. What do they do? They ignore them and brush them off daily. You want your content to be a breath of fresh air, something that pops…and makes them stop and consume it.

This hardly happens when you play it safe. Real growth comes from experimentation and new ideas. You want an agency that can come up with fresh concepts that have to do with recent trends.

A business growth agency is also willing to change content and ideas on the spot if they believe it will perform better.

In digital marketing, testing new strategies and ideas is what gives you the advantage you need to beat your competitors. Let them play it safe while your brand is innovative and attracting new customers.

This is an image of a person using a cookie cutter to cut out shapes on chocolate-flavored dough.

A traditional marketing agency will have a very cookie-cutter system for all brands they work with. They will create the same type of content for you every single month with no real change other than colors and images.

With no way of standing out, it’s very easy for potential customers to miss your content.

In 2022, the magic word is ‘innovation’, and a modern business growth agency makes it easy for you to achieve just that.



Are you still wondering which agency is better? Are you still unsure why a business growth agency might be the best option for your brand?

Then let’s quickly summarize what we talked about so you can decide which agency is best for you.

We first talked about how a business growth agency looks at the overall picture when compared to a traditional marketing agency. They understand the importance of every element of your brand and make sure that it all looks amazing.

We then talked about which questions you should ask an agency if you want to be sure they are the ideal one for you. The most important question of all would be, without a doubt, “Are you transparent with your process and strategy?”

Knowing how they plan on growing your business is VITAL. You don’t want to run into nasty surprises in the future like shady marketing tactics if you do end up hiring them. You want an agency that is open and can explain how they plan on helping your business thrive.

We also talked about the reasons why business growth takes longer, and one of the main ones is that there’s no clear guide on how to grow your specific business. There are thousands of variables and different decisions to make. It’s a path of trial and error that relies on keeping what works and removing what doesn’t.

This means you need an agency that is able to adapt and change its strategy in an instant.

Last, but not least, we talked about why you should consider a business growth agency over a traditional marketing agency. It all boils down to the business growth agency being able to adapt and also take risks. There is no chance you’ll stand out from your competition if your brand isn’t taking risks here and there.

As always, if you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to leave them down below!

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