Everyone has heard the tall tales of working at a marketing agency including beer on tap, ping pong tables in the middle of the office, and cool client successes that win awards throughout departments. But what’s working at a marketing agency really like? If you’re applying for a marketing agency job, know what to expect before jumping in feet first.
Working In-House Versus Working on the Agency Side
A common consideration when looking for a job in digital marketing is whether you’d prefer to be on the client-side or the agency side. There are pros and cons to each and your personal preferences and work requirements might help you decide:
Pros of Being Client-Side
You get the final say on what goes live and what campaigns you want to run
You focus your entire day on one brand, meaning you get really good at that one brand
You get to work on pieces you love and outsource to agencies for things you aren’t as strong at
You can take the final credit for the work
Pros of Being Agency-Side
You get to strategize cool stuff for many different clients
The day is always different because you’re always working on different projects
You can add your work to your portfolio
If you like fast-paced work, strict deadlines, and juggling many different projects at once, you might prefer working agency-side. If you like to spend your time on one or two big projects and focus on one brand, working client-side might be a better fit.
What to Expect When Working at a Digital Agency
Here are a few of the things you can expect when working at a digital agency:
A “Work Hard, Play Hard” Mindset
You’ve likely heard of workplaces with a “work hard, play hard” mentality and this is true for agency life. Sure, many digital agencies have kegs in their break room and happy hours every week, but this is because the team knows how to work hard, get their projects done, and then enjoy some free time when everything is checked off the list. It’s not uncommon to see people working way past 5pm some days and kicking back with a beer on others.
Access to Tools and Talent
One of the best parts about working at an agency is that you have access to some of the best tools in the industry, as well as peers that know their stuff. Need a creative direction for your next project? Pick your Creative Director’s brain. Wondering about how paid campaigns actually work? Schedule a “lunch and learn” with the paid team. Want to know what Google is up to these days? Your SEO team can help. Compared to working in-house, agencies often have many vast resources.
Because the client is relying on you for deliverables, agencies often have strict deadlines that might not be flexible. If you are a deadline-driven worker, this might be just the structure you need. But if you like to make your own schedule, agency life will be a tough transition. The organization is key.
In a marketing agency job, you’re always working on something new. One minute you might be researching a hotel or casino and the next you might be writing content for an interior design blog.