The Difference Between a Marketing & Lead Generation Agency

Marketing agency Birmingham

If you’re here, chances are you’re looking for ways to grow your business, but aren’t sure which route to take.

We’d also hazard a guess that you’ve heard that you’ve got two options: a marketing agency and a lead generation agency, but which one should you choose?

We get it, you’re after leads, but in order to get the right leads, you need to make the right choice for your business. That’s why we’ve put together this mini guide to help you make the ideal choice when choosing between marketing agencies and lead generation agencies.

Let’s get started!

What is a marketing agency?

A marketing agency is a B2B business that supports other organisations with their ongoing marketing. The marketing agency acts as a branch of their client’s business, carrying out marketing work on behalf of the client and helping to drive long-term business growth through bespoke marketing tactics.

When partnering with a marketing agency, it’s important to understand that it’s exactly that, a partnership. The agency is there to help grow your business, and they need your input to do so. A good marketing agency will support you with:

  • Market research & strategy planning
  • Effective rebranding
  • Website design and development
  • Search engine optimisation (SEO)
  • Pay-per-click advertising
  • Long-term lead generation strategies (emails, social media, content marketing, etc.)
  • Public relations (PR) exercises

This means that the best marketing agencies will take lots of time to get to know your business inside and out, allowing them to create a tailored marketing strategy that’s designed to accelerate your business growth by taking you to market and gently warming up leads, making them easier for you to convert.

What is a lead generation agency?

A lead generation agency supports sales teams and business owners, helping them to generate workable leads, usually on short timeframes. They achieve this by collating consumer data and delivering (or selling) it to businesses who are looking for new leads.

Generally speaking, a lead generation agency (or company) will specialise in short-term growth and rapid acquisition of relevant leads. This is often done using:

  • Social media advertising
  • Online advertising (PPC)
  • SEO
  • Creating highly targeted landing pages
  • Content syndication (republishing your own content to other sites)

If you’re looking for rapid growth, then a lead generation agency may be right for you, however, do note that you’ll see diminishing returns over time, and once the ads stop, the leads stop, meaning that they really are a short-term solution – remember that when making your decision!

What are the differences/is there any overlap?

While both marketing agencies and lead generation agencies perform similar tasks (to drive leads and help grow your business), their primary goals usually differ quite a bit.

A marketing agency’s primary goal is to help take your offering to market, creating a complete, self-sustaining marketing strategy that covers all potential lead gen streams, while a lead generation agency is more focused on delivering quick leads that your sales team can follow up on.

While there are clear differences, there is a murky grey area between the two, and many marketing agencies offer lead gen services and vice versa, so choosing the perfect fit for you depends on a few things:

  • What are your growth KPIs? Are you looking for long-term growth or short-term gains?
  • What style of business do you operate?
  • Are you looking for a team of marketing professionals who can become an extension of your team?


What’s the best option for your business?

Both marketing agencies and lead generation agencies can provide a seriously valuable service for your business, helping you to drive more business and bolster your organisational growth.

The easiest way to break it down?

If you want a long-term partner who will automate & support your ongoing growth, then choose a marketing agency.

If you want a list of leads that your sales team can quickly follow up on, then choose a lead generation agency.

But what if we told you that you didn’t have to choose?

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About the author

Nick Floyd has been writing for as long as he can remember. 

Drawing on nearly a decade of copywriting and content management experience, there’s pretty much nothing Nick can’t write about (but he certainly has his preferences!). He works closely with Catalyst clients to nail their tone of voice and produce engaging content that resonates with their target audiences.

In his downtime, you’ll probably find Nick wrangling one of his many pet snakes, or trying to find where the cat has hidden his slippers this time.

Nick Floyd