Around two months ago, I found myself contemplating my career. I enjoyed working at my cosy in-house position at a local ecommerce company, but I couldn’t help the sinking feeling that I wanted a change. Then I began wondering… what was life like on the other side?
In-house marketing vs agency marketing – which do I choose?
To me, marketing agencies had always seemed quite glamorous. I envisioned them with fancy offices, clean-cut suits going for client meetings and boozy work functions – a stark contrast to anything I had experienced before. It almost felt unattainable, and my imposter syndrome always kept me from exploring the option.
Then one day I took the leap!
Lo and behold – I’ve been at Signify Digital, a London-based marketing agency for around a month now and I’m loving it. Although there are some differences to my previous in-house roles (which is still taking some time to adjust to) I have learnt so much in my short time here, that I now wish I’d taken the jump earlier. So if you’re weighing up your options, considering in-house marketing vs agency and struggling to make a decision – here is everything I’ve found in my first month of switching to an agency.
In-house marketing vs agency – how do they differ?
No two days are the same!
It sounds cliché, but from my own experience working in-house I found it had a very specialised feel to it – everyone had set roles within the team and very rarely did they cross over. I mainly focused on content creation with a little bit of SEO thrown in here and there and everyday pretty much following the same pattern.
Since working for an agency, I’ve been exposed to different areas of marketing I’ve never experienced before such as PPC, social media and much more! Everyone is working for their clients: each of their sectors and marketing requirements are different from the last. Some days I could be tasked with creating colourful copy for travel companies whilst the next I’m researching medical treatments to create PPC campaigns for private hospitals. It’s enjoyable having a variety to my workload whilst still having some form of structure that comes from working with the same clients each month.
Agencies are busy, but rewarding
In-house you’ll understand the brand, audience and products like the back of your hand. You’ll typically have an overarching campaign that you’ll be working on that is restricted to company budgets and higher-up decisions out of your control. For an agency, you’ll have all those things but for multiple clients instead. From my experience, there is a bit more leniency in an agency if you can prove yourself.
Each client will give you a brief of what they want you to achieve, but depending on how flexible they are, you’ll have free reign over how you approach the campaigns. There’s a lot of more trust in your work. Deadlines are a bit tighter and the workload is larger, but if you enjoy being busy and proving yourself on a day-to-day basis, it’s definitely a rewarding experience.
There is more exposure to new avenues
Having a variety of different clients makes it easier to stay up-to-date with marketing trends. You see the world of marketing evolving when you aren’t caught up on specific industry trends or competitors.
Being exposed to many sectors gives you broader knowledge of marketing, media and advertising which you can adapt to every campaign. You can find new avenues not previously considered within an industry, analyse what works for clients and apply that knowledge elsewhere.
A different kind of working culture
My previous thoughts of marketing agencies may have been somewhat accurate, sure we work in an interesting communal office space that has a family feel to it, and yes there are boozy work functions – but I haven’t been asked to wear a suit yet! In fact, the working environment is very flexible a good balance of hard work and fun team activities, completely different to a big corporate company where you’re just a name in their long list of staff.
It’s a friendly atmosphere that has got an in-house marketing feeling to it. Everyone originally came from an in-house background and works to their strengths, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for growth and the opportunity to work on things outside of your wheelhouse. You can learn something from everyone in the office and this is actually encouraged – in fact it’s better to be an all-rounder!
My thoughts after switching from in-house to agency
If you ask me now which I would choose, in-house marketing or agency marketing? I would say to you agency, without a doubt.
Having started my career in-house, I wasn’t sure what agency life could hold. I was stuck in my comfort zone because funnily enough – it felt comfortable. But within a month of switching, my marketing knowledge has grown and I’ve seen myself become more confident in my abilities. I think it helps that I am working for a great company that has a strong in-house feel; with lovely colleagues and interesting clients that makes each day as brilliant as the last.