Freelancer, Studio or Agency? Find the Right Match for Your Business

creative matchmaking

Choosing the right creative provider for your business can be a daunting task, especially with the variety of companies. The main question companies have is, “What’s the difference between an agency, studio and freelancer?” These businesses offer the same work, but depending on the goals of your marketing campaign, the different structures and staff make an impact.

Agency: The Complete Package

When you think of an agency, the term “one-stop-shop” comes to mind because these businesses provide a range of services. Agencies tend to have a larger team of 10 or more employees, allowing the brunt of work to be done in-house rather than outsourced to a third party. Your local marketing agencies offer services in areas such as, public relations, media buying, research and creative design services. Within these agencies you have access to a range of professionals from art directors and videographers to writers and strategists.

In many cases, an agency is hired on a retainer basis, as well as a per project basis. With an agency, your brand and messaging is kept consistent throughout all mediums. Whether you require a simple logo design or a large-scale campaign that encompasses websites, banner ads, billboards, and TV and radio spots, agencies provide your business with the necessary services.

Studio: Creative, But Limited

Most studios are characterized as niche companies with the main difference being that studios focus on specific services. However, rather than the full range of services offered at agencies, studios subcontract out various elements of the project, such as writing, programming, video or photography. Crossover work between agencies and studios occurs regularly. And the internal processes, billing, availability and experience levels also set studios apart.

Your local design studios might be able to handle the branding and design, but video, PR or media needed. Or they may be able to mock up website designs, but would need to outsource the programming and search engine optimization (SEO). This is important to remember when setting your marketing objectives.

Freelancer: A One-Person Shop

This is where to look when your marketing collateral is due tomorrow and it’s 3 p.m. today. With a freelancer, you have immediate access to their time and services because you communicate directly with the person managing the work. However, you risk issues that stem from working with a single person. Beware of vacations or prior commitments when you need work completed. Freelancers may also juggle other projects, and your work could be delayed due to lack of time. In a world where instant gratification is the new norm, people can rely too heavily on “on-demand” freelancers to do their work. Remember the phrase, jack-of-all-trades, master of none. A freelancer may be good at one or two things but will have a difficult time fulfilling all your needs.

Wondering which is right for your company?

Download our FREE ebook on Freelancer, Studio or Agency.

The Easy Choice

With an agency, you can be assured that multiple people are working on your behalf, and there are layers of accountability for the final product. A studio or freelancer may not have the resources to handle large-scale projects, or the ability to manage specialists, such as illustrators and photographers. They may lack experience with media buying, web development or SEO management. The skill of one or two people may not compare with the experienced, multi-skilled team in an agency.

Remember that while you may save money in the short run working with studios or freelancers, entering into an agency partnership can pay dividends for years to come.

Accomplish your marketing goals the right way. Appleton Creative is an award-winning, full-service Orlando advertising and marketing agency that works with local, national and international clients to deliver impressive ad campaigns, branding, print, web, public relations, social media and video services — all in-house. At Appleton, we want to learn about your business, empower your marketing team and be your creative resource. Your advertising goals are worth a conversation: contact us at 407-246-0092 or

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