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Birth of the Digital Agency

High performing businesses know that they can no longer ignore the importance of their web and digital initiatives as marketing and communication platforms to connect with their customers and target markets. The challenge for these businesses when looking for a service provider for web design, development and online marketing services, is how to isolate the ‘right’ service provider from the thousands in the market. An eight year old can build a website these days (yes, I’ve seen it), so what do businesses serious about succeeding online need to look for?

According to Wikipedia, a digital agency is a business that delivers services for the creative and technical development of Internet based products. These services range from the more generalist such as web design, e-mail marketing, Digitalagentur logo design and micro sites, to the more specialist such as custom built content management systems, ecommerce, web application development, social media marketing, mobile compatible web development, search engine optimisation, and systems integration services.

Digital agencies tend to differ from their more traditional advertising agencies and their marketing agency counterparts in that they tend to deliver only certain types of web complimentary off-line services such as logo design, icon design and graphic design. Some advertising and marketing agencies do however attempt to deliver digital work but there are a number of shortfalls for businesses that are serious about online solutions utilising their services.

During these last few years much has changed in the marketing landscape. Now I might be wrong by saying this, but my feeling is that in recent years, traditional marketing agencies that have moved toward the online landscape still have a flimsy grasp of it. The majority outsource online services to other experts and are struggling to survive the growing demand for businesses to include more complex web based marketing solutions. Alternatively they may be able to offer basic web related services but struggle when their client’s requirements are more complex or custom.

Digital marketing agencies have also been evolving to define themselves in the ever changing online world. Digital agency services cross so many of the traditional service lines including advertising, graphic design, web design and development, online marketing and search engine optimisation that before the digital agency was coined, there wasn’t really a way to describe them without merging service streams.

The full service digital agency is certainly one of the Internet’s best kept secrets. Businesses serious about succeeding online will benefit exponentially from a successful partnership with a high end digital agency. This is well demonstrated in the Google trends graph below. The term digital agency has been on the rise since the start of 2005 and it growing every day, whilst the term “advertising agency” has been in steady decline.

So how does a business choose when looking for a marketing solution that incorporates digital online media?

I personally view digital agencies as the perfect catalyst to help businesses consolidate these outsourced web, design and online marketing services? Take for example a business that is looking to commission a new website to be designed and developed and need to ensure that the new website will rank high in the search engines. Some people would consider separating the website design from the SEO and end up commissioning two different service providers to carry out the work.

This might work, however a digital agency is capable to service both of these requirements and ensure that the two services are properly integrated throughout the project life cycle.

This also reduces the overall costs of the project because the businesses details, their goals and the relationship with the provider are all vested in one place.

Another example is when a business has a long term relationship with a creative or design agency to support the company’s brand. The business decides it is time to launch their website and brief their agency on the requirements. The creative agency may have an in-house web developer that has basic programming skills so suggests to the client that they should handle the project. Unfortunately the client is unaware that like a clock, a website is made up of many components and it takes skills in a range of areas to create a truly amazing website.

The competency and skills required include: Front end developers, system architects, web designers, usability specialists, online marketers and SEO experts, back end and database programmers and much more. Ideally the team is located under one roof with everyone working together and sharing their knowledge so that together they can create a high quality solution that meets the client’s expectations.

As a result of not having a digital agency with a pool of skill sets, the business’ website is designed and developed by a “jack-of-all-web” web guys that does a standard job but doesn’t excel on any front. To get a truly impressive website, a range of skills and expertise is required.

Hence, when considering the design and development of a new website, a digital agency is a much smarter choice because they really do have the full suite of expertise and know what they are talking about.

The key benefits to working with a digital agency:

  1. Centralising your online requirements with one supplier. This can result in cost reductions and savings from combining services such as your web development with your online marketing or graphic design.
  2. Dedicated account manager – One person to call or contact for all of you digital needs. Whether it’s an email marketing campaign, latest analytics reports, new email account, hosting upgrade or better search engine ranking – you only have to make one call.
  3. If anything is going wrong with your website, you know who to call. One phone call and everything is taken care of.
  4. Pool of expertise. In a digital agency, you find a wide range of people with specialised skills in each and every facet of the web and online industry.

So, now I have that off my chest and you have the top reasons why you should choose a digital agency for your next web project or Digitalagentur social media strategy, there’s never been a better time to get in contact with a committed team that can’t wait to work with you.

Sean Richards is the Founder and Managing Director of Alaress, a Melbourne based full-service digital agency specialising in creating unique digital experiences and online solutions that solve problems and deliver results.

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