Working in an agency vs. in-house. What’s the best for you?

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SEM · 23 / 06 / 2016

The debate about what’s best, working in a Marketing agency or in-house, continues while industry professionals are looking for the best environment to develop their careers. Both environments offer unique challenges and opportunities to develop, but the ideal place for a marketing professional will be determined by your personality and the type of work you like to do, whether it be repetitive tasks and being a specialist in a sector, or work in a rapidly changing environment and deal with different sectors and industries.

As I have already told you in my previous article, I started my career in Online Marketing at Rentalcars in England and, for two years I worked in the car rental sector, learning everything that the Rentalcars brand and its services meant. Now, taking almost a year working in an agency, I have had time to compare the two environments and here I leave the main differences I have noticed between working In agency vs in-house, as well as the positive and negative aspects of each Environment:

1. Agency vs In-house: variety of projects

In an agency there tends to be a greater diversity of projects, since we work with clients from different industries and sectors each day. From cosmetics to LED bulbs, and even law firms, the Account Manager of an agency has the opportunity to work on a variety of projects with different business objectives, which allow him to develop a multitude of Skills and help to have an understanding of what works or not at the marketing level for each industry.

Customer care skills are also developed very quickly, as many times the management of their expectations can be a bigger challenge than the work itself.

On the other hand, working in-house allows a deeper immersion in a project, as it works for a single client. The professional should make sure that he has a passion and a personal interest in the area of the company, to be able to enjoy the work in that industry, since the in-house work can become very repetitive and the days are usually more predictable.

In addition, agencies are expected to be more creative and able to offer advice for different types of industry or business objectives, based on their previous experience and having worked with different sectors. For this reason, there are fewer restrictions and processes. Working In-house, however, there are more specific targets and guidelines that need to be followed and a more corporate level, with less freedom or flexibility.

2. Agency vs In-house: Deadlines for Projects

Working in an agency, you often have to wait for customer approval that in some cases, it may take some time, as it takes several levels of approval, from different internal departments, which delays the release dates of projects that the agency believes will benefit the performance of Adwords accounts.


Work in Agency vs In-house

When I worked in-house, I had the advantage of getting approvals for our department in a relatively fast way, as there were close relationships with the other departments (legal, IT, etc.).

3. Agency vs Inhouse: Training opportunities

The work environment of a marketing agency has a very fast pace and rarely there is a formal training program. The professional learns while he is doing his job and with each new new customer he is handling understands what may work or not for each industry. There are agencies that if they offer training workshops that focus on developing specific skills, for example on how to use an optimization tool or a new design program.

Working in-house, and especially in large enterprises, there are guidance programs for employees to develop the understanding of the company’s culture and products. It’s about being part of something ‘bigger’ and that’s why many of the trainings offered are focused on the development of ‘soft skills’: How to work as a team, for example, or how to improve the relations between departments.

In conclusion, the variety and pace of work are the two most important things that make the difference between working in agency or in-house. In an agency there is more a passion for what marketing can do and how to make strategies work, while working in-house, passion is for the culture and products that the company offers.

There is no correct answer to the question ‘Which of the two environments is better?, the right question is ‘which is better for me?‘. My opinion is that a marketing professional should work in both environments during his career in order to develop different skills and make the final decision depending on what best suits/complements the person‘s lifestyle or personality.

What think you? Do you prefer to work in an agency or In-House? We look forward to read your comments! 🙂


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