Chasing a career in marketing can be an extremely exciting and rewarding venture. It is a fast-paced industry where the aim is to bring a business’s products and services to the view of a target audience. Marketing can include everything from building an attractive website to running effective advertising campaigns and managing engagement on social media platforms. There are other forms of marketing, such as offline activity like leaflets and radio ads. Still, digital marketing has never been more important to build awareness and generate sales in the online world.

Working In-House vs at an Agency: The Top Differences

Securing a job in marketing comes with a range of benefits. It allows you to embrace your creativity, make the most of your communication skills, and enjoy the results of your work. Not to mention, it comes with solid job security. Every business, no matter the sector, requires marketing to grow and succeed. Careers in marketing can include marketing managers, sales executives, graphic designers, and web developers, to name just a few. You will usually find yourself working for one company (in-house) or serving multiple clients on behalf of an agency.

Activate Digital, a digital agency in Liverpool, boasts a talented team of marketing professionals with experience working in-house as well as at a marketing agency. Based on their experience in both environments, they’ve provided StudentJob with some input on the main differences between the two.

Diversity vs Speciality

If you work for a marketing agency, you will be working for a single company that provides various services to multiple clients. Agency life guarantees access to a diverse portfolio of clients and projects. No one day is the same. One minute you could be working on SEO marketing for a tourism client, then you might find yourself writing content for a legal firm. There is the likelihood that more clients will jump on board throughout your employment, giving you the chance to adapt and enjoy more challenges without the need to switch jobs. Working for an agency also allows you to gain more experience and build a denser CV. Without a doubt, you won’t find agency work boring or repetitive!

On the other hand, in-house means that you will be working for one company and only that company. You won’t find yourself swapping industries with in-house work, and days will feel more of the same. In-house is perfect for people who want to immerse themselves in their role and specialise in a single business and sector. As long as you enjoy the position and find the company interesting, you will likely appreciate the consistency of each day. Unlike at an agency, you avoid working for clients that you don’t have any interest in.

The People You Encounter

It should go without saying that colleagues and customers play a vital role in living a healthy and satisfying work life. The people we work with are influential in job satisfaction. If you enjoy the company of your colleagues and find that there is some common ground, then chances are you will like your job more. At an agency, you will usually find yourself surrounded by other marketing specialists. Each person may specialise in a different area, such as pay-per-click or web development, but the common goal is to market a business. With a similar background, you will usually find more interesting people to engage with and opportunities to receive support. Agency workplaces are often the perfect environment for a collaborative team effort. However, it can also mean you find yourself competing against people. With in-house positions, colleagues are usually more diverse, but you may find yourself isolated and working alongside people who don’t fully understand or appreciate the role you play.

As for customers, they can also affect whether or not you like going to work every day. It doesn’t matter if you serve B2B or B2C; customers can make your life that bit more complicated! With an agency, you will be involved with the client and the client’s customers. Clients pay good money to receive valuable marketing services, meaning there are situations where they demand a lot. Some clients are considerate and respectful, while others can be pushy. If engaging with a client’s customers, you need to adapt your approach to fit the brand. With in-house, you don’t need to think about the middleman. You don’t need to wait around for approval, and you will have a better understanding of how to do your job within the brand’s guidelines. In-house gives you more freedom to try new strategies and do what you think is right.

The Pressure of the Job

Agency life can be busy and frantic. Your job relies on satisfying the requirements of a third party, so expect plenty of pressure and lots of deadlines. As discussed above, clients can be very demanding and require new tasks every so often. If your agency manages several large accounts, the work can get overwhelming very fast. One week the workload might be pretty quiet, the next it can be super busy! Client retention is vitally important for agencies, so they must be left pleased after every job you do. That’s not to say that working in-house doesn’t come with pressure. It certainly does, especially in a fast-moving industry such as marketing. However, it’s easier to manage your own company’s output, and you don’t have to worry about external criticism and approval.

Which Is Best for Me?

So now that we’ve explained the main differences, you might still be pondering which choice is the perfect one for you. Ultimately, the decision is yours to make, and we can’t choose for you. Every person is different. Some people will prefer the perks of working for an agency while others are best suited to in-house. If you prefer a fast-paced workplace where no day is the same, then the variety of an agency would be ideal for you. However, if you like the consistency and slower pace of specialising in a company’s marketing department, choose in-house. If you’re still unsure, why not try both? At the end of the day, the principles of marketing remain the same, and your role will operate similarly no matter where you work. With experience in both workplaces, you will have a good understanding of what you like and what you don’t like. Best of luck with your marketing career!

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