From in-House to Agency: A Mini Survival Guide

From in-House to Agency: A Mini Survival Guide

True or false: Marketing is marketing is marketing. The answer is, of course, false. Especially when comparing working in-house to working in an agency. You might as well be comparing apples to oranges. Transitioning from working in-house to working for an agency comes with a lot of learning and a lot of wanting to learn more. 

So what’s the biggest difference between the two? It isn’t necessarily what you are learning about each brand but the method of how you learn. For both in-house and agency marketing, you become an expert in the brand(s). Learning about a single brand for in-house marketing comes a lot more natural because you are constantly surrounded by it. Learning the ins and outs for multiple brands requires that you are constantly seeking new information and filing it away for later use while simultaneously immersing yourself in multiple brands. It is incredibly important to be adaptable – or at least learn how to be – because you will need to switch from one brand to another at a moment’s notice. 

If you find yourself transitioning from an in-house marketing team to an agency, follow these top tips to set yourself up for success:

Get organized. 

Sometimes the simplest things are the most crucial. If you don’t have a system in place on how to juggle multiple brands, you’ll need to create one. Whether it is online task management or traditional pen and paper, being organized will save your sanity when you’re waist deep in the details of existing and newer brands coming in. Not only will it keep you from losing your mind but it will help teach you how and when to adapt and evolve. 

Become a voracious reader. 

One of the best things you can do for your work at an agency, and in life in general, is read. News, blogs, magazines, fiction, non-fiction, newsletters…you get the idea. It might seem daunting to constantly consume information, but it ensures that you are always on-trend or ahead of the game for each of the brands you are working with. Make sure that your news sources are as non-biased as possible (think BBC), look at opinion pieces from all angles, and make sure you set aside time for leisure reading, even if its just 10 minutes in the morning. If you are short on time, even glancing at headlines in the morning will do. Companies like The Skimm are great for those who just have too much going on. They’ll send you an email every day with noteworthy news across all industries. 

Take notes.

See a cool poster while traveling? Love the way that advertisement looks in a magazine you’re reading? Inspired by a quote in an article? Take a photo, tear out the page, or write it down (even on a receipt). The things you see and take note of will help spark ideas for the brands you are working with whether they are creative or methodical. You can find inspiration in everything.

Here’s the tough one: shut off. 

If you are to take away one thing, just one thing, from this blog, it would be to shut off. Not only is this the most important thing to do, but it is often the most difficult. Checking e-mails and notifications become a habit – not unlike checking social media – but you need to set boundaries. Don’t check e-mails before 7 a.m., don’t check them after 7 p.m., and don’t rewrite your blog post at 5 a.m. because you think the old one wasn’t good enough. Taking time to align after the hustle makes you happier, more productive, and even produces a higher quality of work. If a full 8 hours of sleep, a fun weekend, and a yoga class make us better marketers, you can definitely count us in. 

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