Marketing Advice

Difference between a Web Design Company vs. a Marketing Company?

Posted by Travis Baker on August 02, 2017

We spoke to a company today about their website needs. It was going well, and eventually, we arrived at the part that everyone loves, budget.

Not many of us can talk to a person about money just a few minutes after we meet them without a bit of discomfort. Here is how the conversation went today.

Me: "So do you have a budget in mind for your website?"

Prospect: "Well, I have done some research, and I think the going rate is between one and two thousand dollars"

Me: Crickets…..

Nah just joking. This is what I said.
Me: Well you can certainly get a website built for that. However, a simple website for us is in the $3,000 range.

Prospect: Crickets….

There are many web design companies in Charlotte that would do our prospects site project for $1,000. So why aren’t we one of them?
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For a few reasons, however, the largest one is that we aren’t a site design company. We are a marketing company.

Website design is just a tactic. And tactics are necessary.

But we can’t just “build a website” without doing a lot of other work to make sure it at least has a chance of success. I feel it would be a disservice not to include some of the things we do to win on price. And we don’t want just to churn and burn. We want to keep our clients and become their marketing partner.

I mean what distinguishes a marketing company from a website design company?


The main idea is integrating a series of tactics into a strategy that is defined by your goals.

I love that my major is in integrated marketing. Although when I went to college, social marketing was in its infancy. Even websites were kind of “cutting edge.” However, the principles remain the same.

You aren’t looking for the new hot ”tactic”; you want to have an entire integrated strategy. For instance, we use a lot of inbound marketing strategies that include a lot of tactics for our overall online strategy.

So what defines how you build your online marketing mix? And how does that help you choose between a site designer and a marketing company?
compare marketing firm and website design company charlotte.png
Marketing Mix:

Budget: Pretty easy for the first one, right? For instance, you have the cost of your website, plus yearly upkeep. The budget for your site is going to vary widely. For example from earlier, you can see that some people will build a website for one thousand dollars, but I have been on teams that suggested $90,000 plus sites.

If you just want a simple website with no optimization and you already know exactly what you want (photos and text extra)and just need someone to put it together, go with a designer.

If you want to incorporate more, online advertising, social advertising, blogging, content creation; ETC you need a marketer.

Once you figure out your investment, you can have a better idea of your mix.

End in Mind

Goals: While high-end website designers (for instance our 90k friends) did focus on our goals, many designers are just churning and turning. You want to define your goals. In fact, we have an entire download on how to make your goals (SMART).
For instance, is one of your goals to have people find your site who may not know about your particular company? You may need to include search engine optimization.

Understanding: We have a business background so we want to understand your company so we can market it better. What is your unique selling proposition? Why do your customers pick you over your competitors?

Extras, Done Right

SEO: Do you just want a site that looks nice when people type your name and location into Google or do you want a portal where people can find you online? This is going to change whether you hire a marketing firm vs. a website designer.

Imagery: Do you want video or photography? Many marketing agencies have experience in videography and photography and might even have someone on staff that can help.

This makes the creation easier (and cheaper). Also, the marketer already knows a lot about your company. They can ensure they get the photos they need and the video that fits with your business's personality.

Copywriting: Do you think that you have polished copy that is ready to represent your business? If not you might want to either hire a copywriter or work with a marketing company. Many marketers have writing background and can help turn your text into just what your customers want to hear.

My point of most of this is that website designers are just what they say they are, designers. Nothing wrong with that whatsoever. However, if you need a bit more, you might want to contact a marketing company.

Need a way to easily compare a creative companies? Get our fee comparison tool here.