Software house or interactive agency - what to choose?

Software house or interactive agency - what to choose?
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Daniel ParzychKwiecień, 2022

Interactive agency, advertising agency, and software house, despite their great differences have also many points in common. Sometimes their services or competencies even match. So what are the differences between these companies and which one to choose for the implementation of individual projects? What are their specialties? Where can you find experts in a given field?

Concept

Creating a digital product is not easy, but "every journey begins with the first step". More often than not, the first step is a concept, a thought that sprouts from the initiator. When it starts to turn into something bigger, it becomes a vision divided into stages and the stage of looking for a partner or a contractor for the application or the whole project begins. 

The choice – interactive agency or software house?

Probably at the beginning there are a few ideas, usually they are organized around a certain concept – it can be a web portal, mobile or web application, chatbot, or a system to support the company. But you don't know who to entrust this task to, who will do it best: Freelancer? Advertising agency? Interactive agency? Software house? 

As you search for the best option, there are many unknowns. Each provider will say: “We are the best", “Come to us", “High quality”, “Low prices”, “Look no further". Before you decide who you want to work with, consider the best collaboration model relative to your idea.

Own IT department

If your company will need constant access to IT and programming expertise, consider creating an in-house IT department. People working in such a department will be responsible for creating, developing, and maintaining digital products in your company. 

The disadvantage of such a solution is often the narrow specialization of programmers. Typically, a programmer is an expert in a particular technology. For example, if he/she deals with web development on a daily basis, he/she will not necessarily execute a mobile application properly. This creates the need to hire more people who know the right technology.

An additional problem in creating an IT department within a company, are the high costs of recruitment, implementation, and difficulty in scaling this department (up or down) depending on the needs. Therefore, many companies decide to hire an external IT team.

Software house or agency

If your company needs access to specialists in different technologies and different fields, e.g., creating a website and its positioning, it is worth considering using the resources of external companies. The advantage of such a solution is that you do not need to hire more people, use their expertise and experience.

Mixed approach

If you have your own IT department which manages and creates elements for your needs, you can support it in relevant activities with specialists from a software house or an interactive agency. A dedicated team will “appear” at your company only for the duration of a given project or until the desired effect is achieved.

Which model will be the best and most suitable for your company? 

The classic answer is: it depends. And it really depends on many factors. From the size of the company and budget, through the specifics of the project, its sophistication and innovation, to its duration and priority.

Where to look for the right services to get professional help?

Searching for the right partner can make your head spin, so it's worth considering who to start working with to achieve your goal. And although some of the services offered by an agency and a software house will overlap, each company has its own specialties, as well as strengths and weaknesses. 

So how do you differentiate between service providers and choose the right option?

Marketing agency vs software house

If your company or product needs promotion, then a marketing agency will be a good choice. This agency will help you build an image from scratch, including corporate identity. 

Advertising specialists

Usually marketing goals are achieved by traditional methods such as advertising (TV, radio or press), graphic materials (leaflets, banners, brochures or catalogs) or large format advertising. Advertising agency will design packaging, shoot promotional videos, plan a photo shoot of products or employees, and even provide support during trade fairs or conferences. 

The main activities of the agency are focused on the real world, as opposed to the software house, which focuses on creating in the virtual world. More and more often (especially in the era of pandemics), agencies extend the scope of their activities to the virtual world. A marketing agency can be commissioned to run profiles on social networking sites or conduct advertising campaigns.

Interactive agency vs software house

Interactive agencies are focused on marketing and promotion primarily in the network. In short, they deal with internet marketing. Their main goal is to build the image of a brand using technology. 

Internet Marketing

If you need a company that will help you create an effective marketing strategy, build and develop customer relationships online, or conduct an effective social media campaign, then an interactive agency is the best address. In addition, many agencies deal with graphic creations and brand strategy.

In an agency, you will find help with issues of online campaigns such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Instagram, Twitter or TikTok, optimization and SEO (SEO and SEM), and help in creating marketing content for the website.

Often, interactive agencies are the ones that get companies talked about. It doesn't matter how, but it gets talked about. The goal is to increase brand recognition. A creative approach to marketing allows you to create the desired image, match it with an identity (colors, slogans, hashtags), and attract new customers using technology. It is also not uncommon to see agencies that create websites, design user interfaces for websites, and even web portals.

Software house

Software house is focused on software production. You will find digital products here. From websites, web portals, through mobile and web applications, to production management software or e-learning platforms. Just like marketing or interactive agencies implement typical marketing projects, software houses deal with technology projects. 

Software

Together with a software house, you can design a digital product from scratch. Software houses often have business analysts on board who will support you at the concept stage and help you find ways to monetize. As a result, you will get a product with a preliminary monetization concept. 

The visual elements are handled by certified professionals who will design the UX and UI based on experience, rules, and prevailing trends among users. As a result, these works will make your product pleasing to the eye and easy to use. 

Websites, applications, or online stores require programming knowledge and language skills. Here you will find people with experience and skills. When you need a mobile app, it's a good idea to go to the experts. This will help you avoid many problems in the future.

Testers will check at the end if everything works as it should. It is still worth mentioning the security issues. Digital products need to be updated, maintained, and serviced. Having an experienced software house as your partner, you will get this in a package.

Summary – software house or interactive agency

I presented the above descriptions primarily to show the differences in the specialties and strengths of these companies. It often happens that interactive agencies have a few programmers on board who are responsible for simple websites. In the same way, in software houses you can find SEO specialists. This does not change the fact that these companies have their specialties.

Agencies – marketing and advertising

Software house – software

If you want professional services, then use specialized companies. And finally, please remember that low quality is remembered longer than a low price and high quality is remembered longer than a high price.

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