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From in-house to agency — pros and cons listed, Slack style
Monday — tricking your teammate into writing a blog post
Hey Otto! 👋🏼 Hopefully, you had a great weekend, and Monday has treated you well so far (I know I’m still trying to wake up 😴). If you have some spare time this week, could you help me out with something…
Hey Heini 👋 My weekend was great but already feels like a distant memory, as usual.. 😁 The week’s looking pretty full, but let’s hear it. 😊
Btw, I’ll be here all day in case you need to zzz for a moment 🙃
I know the feeling 😆 But okay, I’ll try my luck. You see, Sari asked me to write a blog post about moving from an in-house role to an agency, and I was hoping you could spar with me about what to write. This is also your first agency role, right?
Ooh, the nakkikone strikes back. 😅 No, but that sounds interesting. Yep, still kind of a newbie on this side of the table. 👶
Should we like first list all the points that you want to cover about the topic?
Yess, thanks Otto! 🤩 I was thinking of the following outline:
Why did I move from an in-house role to an agency?
What is it like to change from in-house to agency marketing?
What is the most challenging part about switching from in-house to an agency?
Benefits of both sides? In-house vs. agency?
What do you think? Sound okay? 🤔
Tuesday — 3 x why
Nailed it ☝️
And sorry about the delay. Monday happened. 😅 Since I kept you waiting, maybe I’ll start by jotting some thoughts down about that first point.
So, I think there are two fundamental reasons why I switched from in-house to agency.
The desire to specialize: In-house marketing is great as you can get involved in so many things. But the downside is that the breadth of tasks means you often only get to scratch the surface. Now, as a Content Marketing Specialist, I’m paid for working on the areas of marketing that I enjoy the most. The ones I’m best at. The job is still super varied but in a more focused way. 😃
I felt incomplete as a marketer: The other side is that I just felt the need to take on this agency challenge at some point. I had heard (not least from AB2B 😁) that the agency side is a great school for any marketer. I was and still am confident that having experience from both sides makes you plain better as you’ve got a more complete picture of how marketing works. This is regardless of which side you end up working on later.
These, of course, come on top of the basics of wanting to challenge myself in new ways etc. But all that stuff is pretty much a given when switching jobs, so I wouldn’t emphasize it too much.
What about you, though? 😊 I don’t think I’ve heard your story behind the switch? 👀
I’m here reading your answer and nodding to my screen — nicely put, and I can definitely relate. 😄 Besides everything you just said, I would add this to the list:
I really wanted to work with other similar minded people (in this case, marketers): After a while of working as a solo marketer or in a really small team (Google being one of my teammates), I felt it could be cool to surround myself with other marketers who I can learn from. Don’t get me wrong – I loved my software developer, sales & business analyst friends, but they just don’t share the same passion for conversion optimization or nurturing workflows. 🤣
Oh, I’m totally with you on number 3. 😌 Good shout.
Wednesday — the reality behind the change
So, what about the actual change? 🤔 I know the ideas in our heads can sometimes be quite different from reality. 👻 Was your switch all happy happy joy joy?
Haha, well, I gotta say I was pretty nervous about joining a team where I knew everyone would have super solid expertise.
Like I was gonna be called out for all the gaps in my skills or thinking. 😅
So yeah, slightly intimidating for sure. 👹 But all in all I think I got sucked into the job so quickly that I didn’t have too much time to worry about it after the first day. 😃
Any jitters for you taking on the GMS role? 😄
This is me on my first day 👇🏼
So yes, I was definitely nervous. But luckily, I had some time to learn from other GMSs – observe retros, scrums, and such — before I took on customers all on my own (and after 9 months in the company, I can still pick their brain on Slack 🤪)
I think the biggest challenge for me has been balancing the workload: you have to share your time and love with multiple customers (which is both fun and challenging) 💖 – and it requires good excellent time & project management skills. Also, in the beginning, I was so excited about every project, I said yes to all of them – and quickly realized that I can’t participate in everything… I’d need at least two Heinis in that case. 👯♀️
What do you think is the most challenging part about switching?
Can’t tell if that first-day Heini was a reality, but I’ve been impressed with how in control you always seem – regardless of how choppy the seas get! 💪
And yeah, mastering your time is so important in an agency. ✅
For me, the biggest thing during the first days was just getting up to speed with all the practices and everything that’s going on. Not just at Advance B2B but in client companies, too. As if the normal new job information overload wasn’t enough.. 😅
I also tend to be my own worst enemy, so in the beginning, I gave myself a hard time for not being as on top of things as I would have liked. Luckily that passed after the first sprints. 😌
Anyway, we’ve pretty much covered the first 3 bullets, right? 🙌 How would you like to handle the benefits battle? 🤜🥊
Thursday — let the battle begin
Well… now that you mentioned a battle, maybe we can throw a few (verbal) punches 😌
So pros and cons of both agency and in-house roles.
Let’s do it! 👊🏼
👍 Agency pro: There’s a steep learning curve. 📈 I’ve learned more about marketing at Advance in 9 months than in my two last positions combined. It’s also cool that when you learn a trick from working with one client, you can try if it also works with another client. 🕵🏼♀️
👍 Agency pro: It’s a house full of marketers! Everyone is on your side. Everyone understands where you’re coming from. Also, everyone is so flippin’ good at what they do. 😎
👍 In-house pro: You can influence the deadlines, and there’s not a huge rush to finish all the tasks by the end of the month — or before you go on holiday. 💣 (I guess this comes down to that time management issue again)
👍 In-house pro: You really get to live and breathe one brand. Better be able to stand behind the values, though. 😉
👎 Agency con: The pressure. 😬 Ofc you want to do your best for every client, and sometimes it gets a bit stressful. I'm always a bit nervous to hear how customers rate the past sprint. Not every campaign can work out the way we want — but luckily, clients understand the value of experimentation. 🚀
👎 Agency con: Things beyond your influence. You may have quite limited ability to affect structures and stuff on the client’s side, even when something clearly needs fixing. Fortunately, this isn’t always the case. 😌
👎 In-house con: Random sh*t flying your way left, right and center. 😅 In an agency, you get to double down on what you’re best at.
👎 Inhouse con: Let me just add that I definitely don’t miss being a secretary, ordering buns for a meeting or hearing how marketing has created “great buzz” (the so-called markkinointipöhinä 🙉).
Friday — we have reached the decision
Tough battle, but I think we’re standing on the right side. 😉
I think you’re right. 😎
You know what – I guess that was it! If this isn’t enough for at least one blog post, I don’t know what is. Thanks, Otto, I owe you. 🙏🏼
Let the weekend begin. Enjoy, see you on Monday! 🥳
You’re welcome. 😊 This was almost too easy. 😄
Okay then, talk to you soon, and... Please don’t change your mind over the weekend. 😜