According to The CMO Survey digital marketing spending has been on a double digit rise ever since 2012 with a healthy 13.2% increase in 2016. In contrast, the investments in traditional marketing have been steadily decreasing.

With more and more marketing money moving from traditional to digital marketing, the need for solid digital strategy and efficient execution has been growing. As a result companies are starting to partner with digital agencies to help them improve their digital presence and grow business online. However, choosing the right agency is not an easy task as on the surface most look alike, but when it comes to underlying expertise there can be a significant difference which can affect how successful your partnership is. One good way to evaluate digital agency expertise is applying the Magic versus Logic principal.

Magic vs. Logic

The biggest difference between Magic and Logic is that the former is concerned with the strategy and design for a solution while the latter is about their execution. Here is a quick example:

Let’s say you want to create a new website. This process usually consists of three major phases - strategy, design, and implementation. Magic is what happens during the ideation process where you flesh out the strategy and design using specific know how and understanding of the business context. This process is classified as Magic as essentially what happens is that you take something intangible (idea or goal) and turn it into something tangible (strategy and design). On the other hand, the execution process has to rely on standardized and repeatable processes to be successful. Therefore the work that happens during this stage is mostly driven by Logic.

I want to make it clear that Magic is not more valuable than Logic, they are just two different classes of value.

Which Agency Type is Right for You

Each digital agency possesses a mix of Magical and Logical skills. However, the biggest percentage of agencies out there focus mostly on Logic. This is due to the fact that for Magic to happen the agency needs to have a deep understanding of your particular business model (B2B or B2C) or the industry your company operates in (IT, Finance, etc).

Depending on your internal expertise and how mature your marketing organization is you need to look for different services and expertise in the digital agencies you evaluate if you want to have a successful partnership.

For example, let’s say you want to have a new website but you don’t have a clear understanding of your buyer's information needs and their purchasing journey. In this case if you decide to go with an agency that possesses more Logic, you will probably launch your site faster (probably at a somewhat lower cost) but it will be more generic and will not be based on solid understanding and research of your target market.

On the other hand, imagine a scenario where you have an experienced digital marketer in house who has a good understanding of your business, where it needs to go, and how, but doesn’t have the physical time to execute a pay-per-click campaign. In this case, a purely Logic agency will do a great job with the help of your guidance.

Here is a table to further illustrate the difference between both types of agencies by comparing pros and cons:


How to Know if an Agency is More Magic or More Logic

Depending on the level of clarity your company has about your goals and strategy and internal expertise here are some services to look for when reviewing agencies for website design or marketing projects.

If those services cannot be clearly identified on the agency website, ask for a detailed breakdown of the process the agency uses when delivering their service.

Conclusion

Choosing a digital agency which addresses your needs requires both an objective view over your company’s experience as well as a careful examination of the agencies’ services and processes to determine whether they’ll be able to help you achieve your goals.