Just moved from an agency to an in-house role, personally enjoying the latter much more.
Just wondering what people's experiences working within agencies has been like.
By - Few-Oil3213
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I liked working at agencies when I was early in my career because I learned A LOT and built my network very quickly. now I work in house and they are happy when I do 1/10 of what I could do lol. I prefer in house or consulting over agency life any day
Pretty much, in-house workload is hilarious compared to agency. I work remote and sometimes work an hour a day.
I hatedddd working for an agency. It was pure misery. People act like a Facebook ad is a life or death situation.
Agency is hell and account people are just the most toxic and the worst. Congrats on the move!
I found my people! At the last place I worked at, the account peeps kept selling services we didn't provide. Oh you want VR commercials, no prob. Metaverse architecture? Sure why not. Broadcast a giant logo on the moon? You betcha!
Gotta love the overpromise/underdeliver model.
It’s even better when the agency CEO calls it an “overpromise *and* overdeliver” model and forces a bunch of afterhours meetings to happen when more time spent on zoom directly interferes with any actual work getting done and oh yeah sorry the plebes making $40k/year are overtime exempt but they should be grateful for their jobs
Fun fact: you may not be exempt from overtime depending on local laws. I remember reading that in Texas you can get overtime even as a salaried employee as long as you can prove you worked over 40 hours in a week.
That's the very definition of agency life.
I once had a fellow account supervisor wait in the lobby to “steal” a meeting of mine. She told them I wasn’t available and that they would be meeting with her.
Ugh, I believe this, it makes no sense. It’s so toxic and competitive, and the worst people stick around the longest and end up in charge.
The same AS later claimed that she had a promo set up for my client during the same time I had one lined up. Her promo later “fell through”. Yes, she would have rather NOT helped the client succeed than have me be successful.
That type of thinking doesn’t surprise me. All in the “name” of doing what the client “needs. Not sure why it’s so common across geographies and levels.
I’ve been freelancing for agencies for the last two years. It’s pretty hectic and a lot of the people are not fun to work with. I can’t say what it’s like to be a W2 employee at an agency, but I can’t imagine it’s any better. At least as a freelancer I was able to drop clients with unrealistic expectations without losing my whole job.
I have an interview for an in house role next week in an industry I’m pretty knowledgeable in, and I’m pretty excited about it even if it means having to go into an office a few days a week.
Nice. Good luck!
I freelance with several agencies on the side, and for the most part they are disorganized, difficult, have too many people involved with everything going on.
I have done both, though as part of a marketing department, not an in-house shop. Agency is fun if you’re younger and it’s a large agency. Client side is more stable, but depending upon the industry, you can get brought into things that don’t seem like advertising or marketing issues. You’re also that much closer to cross-departmental blame.
Sales are down? Blame marketing or advertising
Sales are up? We did all the work, we don't need marketing or advertising
Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
I'm really glad that my boss (owns 6 car dealerships which I do all their in-house marketing and advertising management) understands this and on my first day was like, you're going to get beat up every senior management meeting, just take it and do things how you want.
I’ve done both Tier 2 and dealership advertising and I don’t think I would ever do it again.
Having been on both sides, I can say they both suck equally but in different ways. There's no magic answer to this question. Some companies are just good or bad regardless of which side of the fence they're on.
In-house all day every day.
I’ve not done agency so can’t say. If you don’t want their perspective, Agency folk are usually on r/advertising
As a work from employee, I prepared In-house.
Depends what company, some inhouse I have worked for was pretty bad. As they will want result, and they will bug u about it everyday, and no amount of results will satisfy them. No joke I triple sales for some company and they were still not satisfied. But other inhouse are chill. There just happy your doing the work.
Agencies are exciting if you have an agency with a leadership that’s trusting and willing to allow the account executives to own the relationships with the clients imo.
Those systems create sun cultures that really make it easy to live the experience for your brand and push the boundaries in some cool ways without feeling like you’re alienating any of your colleagues.
Put in nearly a decade of agency service. Now in a role where I manage agency relationships (multiple… big budget, large org)
I’m only a few weeks in but I can comfortably say this side is so, so much better on so many levels.
Congrats! I saw that you were a one-man marketing department in an old thread; I'm sure the new role is going to be great.
Lol thanks! Yeah, 8 years in agency, 2 years solo in-house… now part of a big team with budget. This is by far the better experience.
Agencies are great until the age of 30.
There's a reason the average age at agencies is like 26.
We called it the "23 Rule". Hire 23 year olds, work em 23 hours a day, pay them 23k.
Oldie but a goodie.
Classic. I still don't know how I lived in NYC on $19K/yr in the early 00s. And I still can't believe major corporations trusted 23 year old me with their $100M budgets.
Ah, the low profit margin of the agency business model... Employ all the underpaid juniors!
I personally hated the move from agency to in-house.
Agency - everyone knew what I did, what value I brought and how to work with me.
In-house - no one knew what I did, type-A tech bros all thought they knew more than I did about my own specialty, I had to constantly justify my job, and a big part of the companies I worked for didn't even believe in branding because they thought it couldn't be measured. Also less client variety and less chance to do big stuff.
Sure, there was less stress and shorter hours, but for the most part those things didn't bother me at an agency.
And once you go client side, it's really hard to get back on the agency side.
>hat I did, type-A tech bros all thought they knew more than I did about my own specialty, I had to constantly justify my job, and a big part of the companies I worked for didn't even believe in branding because they thought it couldn't be measured. Also less client variety and less chance to do big stuff.
A good way to measure branding is to see what a normal product (white t-shirt) would sell for then see what the same product with your brand on it would sell for and the difference in price is the value of the brand. Of course this is nuanced and the white t-shirt example might only be for clothing brands but it works decently well.
I too just made that jump. And it’s already 100% better than being agency side
Depends on the role. I worked agency but as more similar to an in-house type role, I didn’t do client work I was there to market the agency’s services. Not a bad job and by far the most free reign I’ve ever had in a role to run things.
we used to call that job the "widowmaker" because the person in that job was definitely gonna get fired for no good reason.
In my case things were great until we got bought by a mega agency and they didn’t know what to do with me. Got recruited for another in-house role and left
I was definitely much happier when I moved into corporate from agency work...and I still am.
I work agency side, but primarily content creation for PR and marketing, so different from the usual ad culture I think.
I love my current agency, but I’ve had issues with previous ones. The main benefit for me is that I work across a dozen+ clients so there is a lot of variety and always new things to learn.
Plus if PR/marketing budgets get cut, it’s just one client, and we’ll get another. Plenty of my clients have wiped out their entire marketing teams in recent months.
Downside is the fact you’re always caught in the middle. Previous agencies I’ve worked for didn’t give enough support when things got stressful. The leadership and culture is more important than the work itself.
Idk. I see plenty of people saying how easy it is in-house for agency but I would argue that depends where you to. In-house for b2b SaaS startup will have you pulling your hair out from my experience, particularly as a one man team.
I avoid startups in general, especially B2B SAAS. And I have extensive experience in the domain. It is a toxic industry that loves micromanaging salespeople (and marketers).
I hated my agency years despite working with great and clever people. I always enjoyed client side better, you usually can make meaningful change.
I started my career by working for multiple agencies, then switched to in-house in tech world. Stress - minimal.
Salary - higher.
Work satisfaction - present.
Toxic clients and coworkers - gone.
Workload has dropped but now I can experiment much more and grow in many different ways. It's also much more fun when you work for a product or service that you actually care about, which was not possible for me when working in an agency and having to work with clients with shitty products.
I run a 2-people agency, so it is a bit different for us, but working in a "normal" agency environment with 10-50+ people is usually characterized by an overload of clients per person.
Usually you have very little time to actually get creative or test something new in-depth. It is more of like constant maintenance and extinguishing fires on a daily basis. And oftentimes biz dev is being pushed regardless of the capacities (= more work than people can actually take).
I can imagine that, while in an agency you see a lot of variety, an in-house position tends to be more enjoyable, relaxed and, to some degree, fun, as you work on one specific thing long term.
There's a lot of people here who work shit agencies evidently
Is it a grind, yes? Will you work long hours? Probably. You'll also learn more than an in-house role and if you land at a good one the pay should be pretty decent.
They're not perfect by any means but every marketer should spend some time at one. An agency veteran can survive in-house but I can't say someone who has only worked in-house can survive agency. Best to have exposure to both.
If the accounts team is selling services no one can provide that's a red flag. Smart agencies stay well within their capabilities so they can retain clients through consistent delivery
In my last Agency role there were set amount of hours we had to spend on each client and any hour outside of that had to be logged in a management program. Awful experience.
In my experience, in-house gigs are largely better but less prestigious. The pay may be a step behind, at least in my market.
Interesting, I’ve seen the opposite. Agencies tend to pay significantly less than in-house for similar seniority levels.
I'm in a relatively small market. While the agencies pay more, the benefit package is generally less. Right now, it seems like all the agencies are really rocking.
Yes, agency benefit packages are certainly lacking!
Backwards - Agencies are largely perceived as one step above freelancers at this point. The only people who think agencies matter are their owners and their employees.
I would agree if you are talking about the three man shop, disagree on the larger ones.
Unless you are producing TV commercials or really doing something special, the big ones are almost worse. Most people can't even name a "prestigious" agency but we all know who Google or Goldman Sachs is.
I had a friend who worked at JWT. While he got to do a lot of the big productions, he found the best opportunities in the smaller jobs that weren't focus grouped to death.
Working within agencies can be a dynamic and fast-paced experience that offers a unique set of advantages and challenges. The experiences of individuals working in agencies can vary based on factors such as agency size, culture, clients, and specific roles. Here are some common experiences people have shared about working within agencies:
Variety of Projects: Agency work often involves working on a diverse range of projects and clients. This can be exciting as it exposes employees to different industries, challenges, and creative opportunities. It keeps the work dynamic and provides opportunities to develop a broad skill set.
Fast-Paced Environment: Agencies are known for their fast-paced nature. Clients' demands and deadlines can be demanding, requiring quick turnarounds and the ability to work efficiently under pressure. This can be energizing for individuals who thrive in a high-intensity work environment.
Creative Collaboration: Agencies often foster a culture of collaboration and teamwork. Working with talented individuals from various disciplines such as design, copywriting, and strategy can stimulate creativity and innovation. It provides opportunities for cross-functional learning and the chance to work on exciting campaigns.
Client Exposure: Agency professionals often have direct contact with clients, which allows them to build strong relationships and understand different business dynamics. Interacting with clients provides valuable insights into their needs, preferences, and industry trends. It also offers opportunities for networking and personal growth.
Learning and Growth: Agencies can be excellent learning environments, as they provide opportunities for professional development and exposure to cutting-edge industry practices. Working with different clients and projects allows individuals to continually expand their knowledge, skills, and expertise.
Long Hours and Tight Deadlines: The agency world is notorious for demanding long hours and tight deadlines. Meeting client expectations within limited timeframes can sometimes result in work-life balance challenges. However, this varies depending on the agency's culture and the specific role an individual holds.
Client Demands and Expectations: Agencies operate in a client-centric environment, where meeting and exceeding client expectations is paramount. This can involve managing demanding clients, changing priorities, and evolving project requirements. It requires adaptability and effective communication skills to navigate these challenges successfully.
Potential for High Creativity and Impact: Working within agencies offers opportunities to create impactful marketing campaigns and contribute to the success of client businesses. The ability to brainstorm and execute creative ideas that resonate with target audiences can be incredibly fulfilling and rewarding.
Ultimately, experiences working within agencies vary greatly, and personal preferences play a significant role in determining job satisfaction. Some individuals thrive in the fast-paced, client-focused agency environment, while others may prefer the stability and focus of an in-house role. It's essential to find a work environment that aligns with your professional goals, values, and personal preferences.
I much prefer in-house for specialist industries. I’m in recruitment marketing at the minute and it’s a whole new level of niche! I love it and it’s very stable because people always need jobs.
Also I like having lots of autonomy and getting to do stuff outside of the traditional “marketing” remit. In this role I get to do a bit of everything and I have a seat at the decision-making table because they understand how closely integrated marketing is with the success of our business.
Never had that at an agency!
Totally with you on this one. In an agency you have to juggle with so much, deal with the clients who can take everything out on you and have insane expectations which are now included in the SOW.
I also did the switch a few years back and have enjoyed it.
In-house better in almost every way imo
Lot lower workload in-house but you'll learn a ton less too...it's always a trade off.
Pretty much, the in-house workload is hilarious as compared to the agency
I spent 10 years in agencies mid-career. I had a rapid progression combined with extreme stress and instability. Eventually my hard skills eventually as I moved from experienced IC to agency leader. After 10 years I tried to go client-side at the executive level and was basically laughed out of interviews. Finally took a step down to a director level in a startup and now can potentially move back up if I choose to.
Moral of the story for me: agencies were good for fast learning but not good for career development. I would recommend agencies to new grads and career transitionistas who need to get their foot in the door. But they are not places to plant roots.