Working at a Marketing Agency vs In-House
If you’re someone that enjoys being creative, taking data and turning it into actionable results, or enjoys discovering new ways to market a product or solution, you’re going to love the marketing field. The marketing field is a vast industry that is almost always in a constant state of change, but if you’re cut out to be a marketer, you can have one of the most fulfilling and rewarding careers of your life.
After working in the industry for over 7 years and working closely with some very talented peers, partners, and organizations, I have noticed that there’s a huge difference working at an agency and working on an in-house marketing team. After hiring and working with individuals with experience in both segments, I believe there is still some confusion for newer candidates entering the market or field.
While the responsibilities of working at an agency and in-house are often similar, each offers a very different environment, and both have their unique challenges and perks. Some individuals are more suited for the fast-paced high-responsibility agency environment, while others are better suited to be fully immersed in the marketing materials of just one company.
An agency typically has a variety of marketing services that they offer and serve multiple clients in many different industries. Working in-house, most markers are assigned to one function and carries out those duties instead of outsourcing. So, working in-house means all marketing campaigns are being concentrated on one subject matter instead of multiple like an agency does.
Let’s go into some detail of the differences between working at an agency and working in-house!
WORKING AT AN AGENCY
In an agency, you’re typically working across a wide range of projects across many different industries. That’s not to say you won’t have a concentration (IE: social media), but you are working on projects for multiple clients all within a specific timeframe.
Working with many clients allows newcomers to experience the many facets of marketing that come with working on different accounts, giving you a broader understanding of marketing, digital media, and advertising.
If you’re working at an agency, though, it’s important to remind yourself that another business or individual has hired it, so you will be at the beck and call of your clients. You’re expected to create, implement, and measure solutions and campaigns with strict deadlines. To that end, the hours tend to be longer within agencies as your workload is often much higher.
With that being said, working at an agency allows you to be exposed to a lot of different aspects of marketing, which is beyond valuable when starting your career. Not to mention the many different people you can learn from along the way too! Often, candidates are tempted by the cool agency lifestyle and like the idea of working with diverse clients.
At an agency, it’s arguably easier to stay up on the latest, cutting-edge technologies and trends, because an agency employs a lot of different creative minds with different specialties and skillsets. You’ll not only work alongside these people, but you’ll also have the opportunity to interact with them, giving you a lot of great opportunities to understand what’s going on in the industry.
If you enjoy tackling different challenges and managing multiple types of projects, as well as a very fast pace of life, then working for an agency is probably more your style.
It may not be true for every organization, but generally working on an in-house marketing team you’ll have shorter hours that are more structured, with a larger support network of managers and executives that understand the business through and through. In-house, your role is a crucial part of the business structure, so you’ll be more exposed to how your role fits in with the organizational structure and hierarchy.
Working in-house, especially on a smaller team, you’ll often find that many of your colleagues simply don’t understand all the aspects of your specific role. It’s challenging to stay up-to-date on all the changes within one role, not to mention someone else’s. This usually means that if you’re working on a smaller team, you must be self-reliant and able to think on your feet to solve any issues that may arise.
However, the upside of working in-house is that you’re surrounded by, and able to work with, a variety of roles across several departments like sales, finance, accounting, and customer service. It makes the office more interesting, having a mixture of diverse interests and backgrounds.
You’ll gain a greater awareness of how the business functions from top to bottom and how it all works together. At the same time, working in-house can bring a greater sense of ownership, so if you’re someone who likes focusing on one thing and seeing it through to the end, including analyzing its success and impact on the business, you might be more suited to an in-house role.
This article was originally published on the Red Branch Media Blog by Eric Foutch.