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4 Things Learned Moving from Client-Side to Agency

September 19, 2017

After 6 years of working in various client-side digital positions, I finally made the leap into agency work this summer. Now that I’ve had a few months to get my feet under the table, here’s a few of the differences I’ve quickly had to get to grips with.


1. You’re no longer the know-it-all

If you’re working in an in-house role – there’s a good chance you’re expected to be a jack of all trades, particularly in small-medium-sized businesses, where the digital marketing manager may also be responsible for handling social media, or your ecommerce manager may also handle the technical aspects of maintaining your website. This can lead to you being the go-to person for anything digital within your organisation. Whilst this is great to give you a basic understanding of each digital channel, working at an agency helps you realise how much you still have to learn.

Here at Venture Stream, I’m surrounded by a team of experts, all with years of experience within their specialised field, ranging from PPC to PR, Social to Design. The best advice I can give you in the first couple of months at an agency is to listen! You’ll be surprised at how much you can learn just by absorbing as much as possible from your colleagues!


2. Say goodbye to the hierarchy

Client-side roles tend to be a lot more structured from an organisational perspective – your team report to you, you report to your boss, they report to their boss, and so on. Whilst this is great in ensuring that responsibilities are clearly assigned, this does mean that communication between those doing the work and those making decisions can be slow, or even non-existent!

A key difference in a typical agency environment is the fluidity of the structure, with teams collaborating to ensure everyone’s skillset is being used to deliver results for the client. This more open-ended atmosphere also has the benefits of making sure there’s an opportunity for good ideas to be heard and implemented – regardless if these came from a director or an intern.


3. Every client is unique

Although this seems obvious, it’s very easy whilst working in-house to fall into a set routine, assuming your way is the best (or even the only!) way to do business. A few months of working with a wide range of different clients is a real eye-opener into just how wrong that is.

A key part of being successful in an agency role is the ability to tailor yourself to each individual client’s needs. This might be as simple as realising that a channel seen as minor and secondary for one business, may actually be a key part of another’s marketing strategy! It may even be just working out which clients prefer their updates via email and want to be drowned in the detail, and who prefers a quick call. To summarise – be ready to adapt!


4. Your calendar is no longer yours

Although client-side work can and does have hugely busy periods around peak seasons and product launches, these are generally known well in advance, giving the opportunity whilst working in-house to have most of your time planned out around your own meetings, activities and deadlines.

Working at Venturestream, this isn’t the case for us. We understand that priorities for a client can change at the drop of a hat; and opportunities may arise that must be acted upon quickly to be capitalised upon. We pride ourselves on being able to react to your businesses requirements and deliver quality work when you need it most – even if that does mean a few late nights along the way!

Although there are countless other differences between working in-house and in an agency, these few key points should help prepare anyone making the switch over with a bit more of an idea into the significant change in your working environment that you can expect.


Thinking about developing your skills and furthering your career at a cutting edge, rapidly growing agency? Take a look at our latest vacancies and get in touch with us here.

Written by Gareth

Gareth is Ecommerce Director at Venture Stream, with nine years experience managing ecommerce websites for a diverse range of companies.

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