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Making the Switch From an In-House Marketing Team to a Creative Agency

Amanda Lubbers

It’s been 6 months now since I made the career change from an in-house marketing team to a creative agency. The move, for me, was fairly seamless but I have seen some definite pros and cons to each atmosphere. Join me as I walk you through the wonderful world of switching from a whirlwind adventure to utter organized chaos.. but like in a cool, fun, creative type way. *thumbs up*

Okie dokie, here we go. I started as a young little creative bebes working on a small in-house marketing team for the State Lottery. It was my first “real adult job” and at that point I had no idea what I was really getting myself into, or that there was even a difference between in-house and an agency type setting. I was more focused on things like “Cool! Yay! I got an adult job!” then what setting would be best for me.

One BIG plus I found working for an in-house team at the Lottery, is that I got Powerballs deep into the company and had all the knowledge I needed right in front of me. I was in the thick of it so to say. I was in the meetings getting the information fed to me as it was coming to fruition, and if I had a question about some obscure lottery rule, all I had to do was yell across the hall “Hey David, help!” and I would have an answer within minutes. Hella time saving if you ask me.

Another pro to working for an in-house marketing team was the communication. As I mentioned above, everyone who had the answers I needed were all within a couple office doors of me. Granted, communication always has its ups and downs in any working environment but it makes things so much easier when your whole team is within yelling distance.

Now that you know some of the good things, here are some of the bad things about working on an in-house marketing team. *Ominous music plays in the background* Okay, maybe not bad, but definitely not super awesome things.

First, yes, all the information I would need was right there BUT sometimes I would get waaaaaaaay too much information that I didn’t necessarily need, which could get overwhelming. For the most part, everyone was somewhat involved in every project and my brain just couldn’t deal sometimes. I often found myself trying to sort out what was relevant to me and my position and what I could let go, but I didn’t want to let anything go because, what if I needed it later?  Kind of like those 3,843 selfies in your phone that look the same, but not, so you keep them all anyways.

Another downfall I came across was that networking was a bit more difficult. I am a fairly introverted person, and getting introductions to people in my field but outside of my company was minimal. I was the only person that did my specific job and was constantly learning on the fly. I was desperate for mentors on the outside that could help this little karate kid become the master of kung fu.. err.. marketing.

The last major con to working for an in-house team was that sometimes the company would just get stuck in old ways. I feel like this could happen with any company though. They just plug along in their little bubble and then all of the sudden the world is just different on the outside and with minimal outsiders coming in, change isn’t even thought of. Stepping outside of that bubble gets harder and harder but once they do, the change can be legendary.

Now that I’ve babbled on about in-house marketing, let’s do a little switcharoozies and talk about my experience working for only the coolest creative agency in the whole wide world. I may be a little biased but, shhhh no one has to know. 😉

BIG pro for working for Senestre, the agency life is specifically tailored to foster creativity. Everyone can just spit out some mad beats about some sick campaign we are brainstorming and no one bats an eye. Why? Because being creative is what we do.  Being silly is how we function. Okay, I know what you’re thinking. “Wow, sounds like all they do is goof off”… wrong. Keeping our brains active through various creative endeavors helps us come up with new and uniquely creative concepts to help our clients excel. There is also a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that goes into each and every concept that leaves our door.  Sometimes within a larger corporation the big suits don’t understand that side of marketing, and that’s okay. This is only one thing that makes agency life so unique.

Another pro to working for a creative agency in my book, is that we get to help our clients gain an outside and completely fresh perspective of their company or product. Our first experience is as close to a consumer experience as we can get, which gives us an advantage when trying to market to.. well.. us, the consumer. I cannot tell you how exciting it is when you bring in a new idea and the client is like “Holy smokes! How have we never thought of that?!” And then us, as an agency, are internally screaming with happy tears because “They like us, they really like us!” Hands down no better feeling than that.

And then finally, the last agency life pro I am bringing to you today. This one just might be the best one too. The community. The agency’s in the Boise area are full of amazing human beings and being able to connect with this little mini creative community is unbelievable. Yes, things can get a little competitive between us, but that is also part of the fun. It keeps us on our toes and pushes us every day to strive for more, to be better, to do better. *sniffle sniffle* Eh-hem okay… enough of that. *wipes tear from cheek* cue the ominous music for the cons!

Dun, dun, dun! The first con of agency life goes to….communication! It gets so much harder to be in constant contact with your clients and get all the information you need. Emails suck… but our work-life kind of depends on them… and that also sucks. Things get lost in the endless sea of emails, which is inevitable. Also, when communicating through email it is a lot easier for things to be misunderstood or even missed completely.  It’s not even anyone’s fault either. It is just simply harder to communicate and stay in constant communication when you all aren’t seeing each other every day and the client has a billion things going on and we have a billion things going on. It’s that whole “out of sight, out of mind” concept. Which reminds me, I should probably call my dad.

Next up, is the fact that it is a bit hard to be 100% invested in every single client all at once. I would absolutely LOVE to learn everything there is to know about supercomputing but I also need to learn everything about hair care, and brewing beer etc. etc. We are only human and we will do everything humanly possible to learn it all but, unfortunately we just can’t know as much as someone who is living, eating, and breathing their company or product every day, and that makes me very sad.

I’m sure you are all sick of me by now but I have just one more con for your reading pleasure. Sometimes, very occasionally, you get a project that comes along that is less than desirable, but you gotta do it. Let me set the scene. The team is gathered in the “Should have been an email” conference room to hear this brand new creative project that just came across Bill’s desk. Bill gets up in front of the whole team.. “Alright guys, this one is a doozie. It may stink a little but we have to do it. Muster up all the strength you have.” And with a big sigh Bill says, “Porta potties… but make it poop.. POP!”

If you have made it this far, you are a scholar and a saint for sticking it out and dealing with my inner monologue. For those of you that are just scrolling until you find a nice short bulleted list summarizing the article…here it is big guy!

As you can see, there are definite pros and cons to working in each type of environment. Granted, these aren’t all the pros and cons but I was told “Amanda, 5 pages is too long for a blog.” So, here we are. I will leave you with this, I really did enjoy working for an in-house team, but I have definitely found my home at Senestre.

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