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Four things I’ve learned in my first six months into agency life.

30th of September 2019

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It’s been six months since I took the leap from an in-house, client-side role and jumped feet first into agency life for the first time. The last six months have absolutely flown by and I can’t wait to share with you the 4 things I’ve learned in my time so far that make working in an agency, pretty darn great. 

1. You are no longer a generalist. 

Working in house you need to know a little bit about a lot of marketing strategies, channels, and platforms. 

  • Can you handle our Email Marketing? Sure. 
  • How about social media management? Can do. 
  • What about Google Ads? Absolutely. 
  • Can you write our weekly blog posts? I guess I can do that. 
  • What do you know about SEO? Ummm, a little? 
  • You can build us a 100+ page new website, right? ….. 😐

 

In these roles, the opportunity to cultivate an expert understanding of a platform or strategy is hard to come by. While it is essential to have a broad understanding of strategies, platforms and how they all work together, there is something to be said about “niching in” and developing an area of expertise. Your skills can have a greater positive impact by performing excellently at one or two things as opposed to mediocrely at 10. 

 

2. Your day-to-day now has more variety than an Allen’s Lolly Classic Party Mix.

One of the best things about sinking your teeth into agency life is you now get to work with a broad variety of clients. From kids socks to franna crane hire you’re now required to get your head around digital strategy across a range of industries. This really begins to challenge your ability to adapt your skills and develop meaningful insights across industries all with different challenges; A strategy that would kill it for an e-commerce client may not work for online marketplace. You’re presented with a new challenge almost daily which helps sharpen your skills and ability to craft effective digital marketing strategies. 

 

3. PPC may not work for everyone. 

I now know what the phrase “Churn & Burn” means.This refers to a common practice in the digital marketing world. An agency will promise a client the world to win their business. “We can double your revenue, the phones will be ringing off the hook, you will need to put on 10 new staff next month.” These promises are often completely unrealistic and unachievable resulting in a very unhappy client. A cycle of over promise and under deliver. 

I’ve quickly realised PPC is an incredibly effective way to grow and scale a business, but it’s not for everyone. It may not be right for every business, industry, target audience and can even come down to timing. I’m glad I’ve landed in an agency aware of the “Churn & Burn” model and are actively trying to improve the reputation of digital marketing agencies. 

Ben Somerville does a fantastic job of explaining the challenges in breaking this cycle in his article, Why We Are Turning Away Potential Clients

 

4. You get to meet really smart & passionate people. 

The people you get to spend your time with agency-wise really set your experience apart from an in-house role. It’s such an insightful experience to meet and speak with a range of business owners and industry leaders about why they are in business, what their goals are and how you can help them grow. 

Internally you also get to work with and learn from a team of experts in their fields. You get to pick their brains about what does and doesn’t work and learn all the tricks of the trade that will help you kill it for your clients. If you hate learning new things and constantly sharpening your skillset – sorry, an agency isn’t the place for you. 

 

It’s been a very fast-paced six months with a few steep learning curves thrown in, but the I’ve skills and growth I’ve experienced, probably couldn’t have been done in an in-house role. If you’re seeking a new challenge or more creative day-to-day, apply for the next agency gig you see on Seek or LinkedIn, you might be surprised where that leap could take you. 

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Written By
Kate Sheridan


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