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Why I Wouldn’t Go Back to In-House Marketing (Without a Lot of Thought)

Let me set the scene. 

I’ve been working in marketing since 2009. I left school unsure of what it was I wanted to do but I knew that I wanted to work instead of continuing education. I just didn’t know my options. 

Emily in the office

I found an apprenticeship provider who helped me to find a job and once a month, my assessor came in to see me. By the second visit, my entire role had changed. 

I realised that I was working for a company which was very successful because of customer service. And what was a big indicator of this? They had the same clients month in month out. Nobody new - ever! 

A conversation with the boss led me to say, “How do you expect to grow when you aren’t doing anything to make it happen?” 

There lies the reason I now work in marketing. With the support of the MD, I was allowed to explore the options. 

Time went on and I moved companies a couple of times, really growing my skills. I became CIM accredited and found my feet as a marketing professional. 

I’ve always worked in-house as the only marketer. When looking for new roles, agency opportunities presented themselves but this was something I always ruled out. 

I didn’t want to work in an agency. I enjoyed fully understanding the company that I was marketing for and I always thought this wouldn’t be possible in an agency. 

I liked having a handle on all areas of marketing. 

Fast forward a few years and here I am. Working at Digital 22. An agency. Something I never thought I would do and the words that now leave my mouth are, “I can’t see me ever going back to in-house marketing.” 

Quite a turnaround that, until I took the step, I never thought would happen. Let me explain why:

  • There’s so much variety at an agency. You can still learn about all areas of marketing, but you can also become an expert at your own specialism. You really do become a better marketer.
  • You don’t need to work in-house to fully understand the company. From kick off days to client learning time, you feel like an integral part of a client’s team.
  • You get to communicate with like-minded people on a daily basis. Each person is working for the same goal and, to be honest, it’s quite refreshing to have that support that you sometimes have to fight for as an in-house marketer.
  • Clients want to work with you. They want to hear your ideas. They want you to be the reason for their success.
  • You can truly show the value of marketing and the ROI with enough time for communicating this rather than balancing expectations all the time. 

If I was to give advice to people looking for a new role, it would be to not write off an agency as I did for years. Go and see them, find out what they’re like and see if it can work for you and you with them. I think you’ll be surprised. Never say never.