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Comparing a Software Development Company vs. a Marketing Agency

Are you trying to compare the differences between a software development company vs. a marketing agency? In this blog post and video, we'll explore why each of these professional services businesses have some unique attributes, even though there can be some overlap

In this video, we're going to look at -- compare and contrast -- the differences between these two sometimes, similarly-perceived types of professional services businesses.

Because the reality:

Software development companies focus on UI UX design to improve the customer experience.

And marketing agencies focus on implementing full-funnel marketing technology and sales technology.

There does tend to be some confusion. There sometimes can even be some overlap.

So, let's look at what can happen when there's a blurring of the lines between software development firms that tend to be hired to build software applications and digital marketing agencies that tend to get hired to build sales funnels.


Software Development Company



Software development companies, sometimes called custom software builders, tend to be primarily in the business of outsourced software development. They're also known as custom software developers, product builders, or application developers.

They're generally hired to solve business problems related to front-end and back-end development of Web applications and mobile applications.

Sometimes clients hire software development companies because they intend to use these applications internally with their employees, vendors, and channel partners.

Other times, and most of the time, software development companies build external SaaS apps to be marketed and sold as part of the company's core business model.

Some custom software development companies specialize in specific vertical markets.

UI UX and front-end developers often have similar skill sets to website designers and mobile app designers hired by marketing agencies.

But software development tends to have much more largely budgeted, invested projects.

Other things being equal. The skillset that UI UX designers use, the front-end developers, the website developers also often overlap with the skill set that would be utilized by a marketing agency in the business of custom website design and development.

The skill sets of the junior custom software developer are probably more akin to the senior developer at the marketing agency. Other things being equal. But that's a whole different story.

Sometimes software development companies are like, "Yeah, but we're not a marketing agency. We don't build websites. We don't do SEO." But in reality, there's overlap.

And a lot of custom software development companies also tend to be located in areas of the world with a lower cost of living and lower cost of doing business that provides them with a competitive advantage.


Marketing Agency



Marketing agencies primarily deliver outsourced marketing services.

A lot move into a full service, full-funnel business model that brings together five, ten, or more different kinds of specializations, including

  • Branding
  • Graphic design
  • Content
  • Copywriting
  • SEO
  • Search engine marketing (SEM) -- for example, Google Ads
  • Social media
  • Email marketing
  • PR (public relations)
  • Video
  • Events
  • CRO (conversion rate optimization)




Some specialize in eCommerce, marketing automation, CRM, sales enablement, web design (UI UX design), and website development.

And again, that's probably the area that would have the biggest potential overlap with a software development company.

Generally, marketing agencies sell projects and retainers at a much lower initial and ongoing investment level than a software development company.

And marketing agencies also tend to be located in closer proximity to where the team or the end clients are located to have a more collaborative relationship.

That's not to say that the custom software developers also don't look to have similar relationships.

But in terms of geographic proximity, usually, marketing agencies are located closer to the clients, and software development companies tend to be found in areas of the world with a lower cost of living, a lower cost of doing business.



So those are my thoughts on some of the basic similarities in the compare vs. contrast between these two sometimes overlapping business models: the software development company and the marketing agency.


Are you part of a software development company or a marketing agency? Or do you engage with one or both of those kinds of businesses? Do you have any questions? Feedback?

Feel free to leave them in the comments section below.



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