From in-house to agency: the journey that accelerated my career

Blog by July 5, 2022

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When I speak to people about how their marketing career began, the response is usually,  “I just kind of fell into it when I was doing admin and loved it”. Those that had the foresight to study marketing at university, could be lucky enough to have secured an agency role post their internship, but for most, their marketing career starts in-house. This means they work only on the marketing of their employer.

A marketing career that started in-house

I myself got my start in marketing, in-house. For a few years, it was great. Learning about the companies I worked for, and the industries they operated in, was interesting. I was able to develop different marketing skills in each role, but at the end of the day, I felt something was lacking.

Why moving to a marketing agency was my best career move?

Six months ago, I moved to Threesides. And it was the best decision I made for my career. Here’s why…

1. You can specialise or be a generalist, and not be disadvantaged by the choice

Some people join a marketing agency and find their love in a particular area: copywriting,  digital advertising, social media, or website development. But others, like myself and my team, love to work with clients to manage their Marketing Department.

As a marketing manager at Threesides, you are the client lead. We don’t have account managers which means you are the direct point of contact for your clients, enabling you to become the expert in marketing their organisation and industry. Having that direct contact helps build rapport quickly and leads to real-time feedback so we can adapt our tactics at a similar speed to industry changes. 

Whether you decide to work as a client lead or to specialise, your career isn’t disadvantaged or limited. Most of our specialists progress on to product development, while client leads often move up into senior management positions. 

 2. You will accelerate your career

A marketing agency will accelerate your learning. This is particularly useful if you are just starting out. Not only will you need to be across your client’s business, but you need to keep abreast of the latest marketing trends. Also what works for one client often works for another, so you learn how to adapt tactics for different industries from day 1. 

On the technical side, we all have different platforms and tool that we love. For example, you could be learning the ins and outs of SEO, or TikTok advertising, or updates from Zapier, Zendesk, or Google Analytics 4. With knowledge-sharing culture, we learn a lot from our colleagues, and if your interest takes you in a particular direction, you will have the opportunity to train others too. At Threesides we absorb so much informally too, just by being in the office, and hearing conversations around us. And if you work remotely, we catch up at fortnightly Lunch and Learn sessions, hosted by a different team member each time. 

3. Collaboration at its finest

In agency you never work in silos, collaboration is key. While you might be the expert on your client, you are in no way expected to be an expert in every marketing tactic they use. Chances are your clients have digital advertising, require media and PR, and we also manage their website, so you work with the experts, across our internal teams to deliver their marketing plan.

You will work with Marketing Coordinators, Head of Marketing Department, specialists in digital advertising, website development, graphic design, photography, etc… We do our finest work when we work together as a team.

Collaborating across teams, learning from each other, and supporting each other to produce quality work to make a difference to clients’ businesses, drives us every day.

 4. Don’t believe the hype: agency is no longer just for extroverts

In a world that is data-driven, and where research and knowledge are invaluable, you don’t have to be an extrovert to join an agency. In fact, our team is about a 60/40 split, with more introverts than extroverts.

The vital soft skills needed in a marketing agency are people and communication skills, attention to detail, and project and time management. These skills have little to do with where you sit on Myers Briggs introversion/extroversion scale. 

5. I wouldn’t do it justice without a word of warning

Marketing agencies are fast-paced, and your hours are billable. These are probably the biggest adjustments, moving from in-house to an agency, and can take a few weeks to get use to. That’s my word of warning. But it’s not a Mad Men environment. You aren’t expected to work longer hours or achieve a cracking pace that propels you towards burnout. It’s not sustainable, and certainly not something we want in our team.

But my word of warning, is a positive too. Time records mean accountability and transparency for our clients, and you don’t have to waste time telling people what you did, our project management software and monthly reports, explain the story for you. 

In 25 words of less why I love agency life…

The perks are clear: accelerate your learning, follow a path that ignites a passion, and be in a workplace where you collaborate as a team.

Ultimately, whether you choose to work for a marketing agency (ideally Threesides), or in-house, will come down to what you are looking for in your career. If the thought of repetitive work leaves you craving new challenges and variety, apply for one of our roles here.