WRITTEN BY: KRYZIA
Well, hello there May! It's been two months since we've posted anything. Life got pretty busy, to say the least.
In November 2018, I made the switch from client side to agency side. I'm quickly approaching the six-month mark and it has been a whirlwind of experiences and opportunities since I started. Working on the client side and working on the agency side are two entirely different beasts. Having experience in both arenas now, I can see the distinct differences. It's all marketing communications, but the approach differs. Based on my experiences, I want to share two major differences between client side and agency life.
A Lot About SomeThing vs. Enough About Everything
Being on the client side meant managing one company, one brand, one strategy. I learned absolutely everything about them. I knew the company and their industry inside and out. I was aware of every small detail, from the significant to the mundane. I immersed myself completely in everything that had to do with this one particular company. The pro of working on the client side is the ability to be a clear expert in whatever field or industry your company may be; the con of working on the client side is how things can become routine and monotonous after working in the company for a few years. Being on the agency side means managing multiple companies, multiple brands, and multiple strategies. None of the companies I work with are exactly the same. I've had to learn about a wide range of industries and fields: I may have a basic knowledge of some, but I may know absolutely nothing about others. It's a balancing act of making sure I know enough about my clients without falling into a rabbit hole of information out of curiosity rather than necessity. The pro of working on the agency side is the opportunity to constantly learn new things; the con of working on the agency side is the possibility of feeling incredibly lost because you feel like you don't know enough about the industry or company.
Be Okay at Everything vs. Be The Best at Something
Depending on how important a company views marketing communications, you can either be part of a good-sized in-house team or actually be the in-house team. When I was on the client side, I was the in-house team. I was the marketing coordinator, communications director, social media manager, graphic designer, copywriter... The list goes on. I was able to dabble in a bunch of different things, developing a basic foundation in each area I was expected to perform in. But dabbling meant not specializing. I was just okay at everything; I wasn't excelling. I was mediocre, despite my best efforts to keep up. Working on the agency side of things has allowed me to focus on what I do best. With an entire accounts team and creative team comprised of talented individuals ready to help and support, I'm not just dabbling anymore. There are not only individuals who each specialize in something, but we're a team coming together for a common purpose. On the client side, you may be the in-house team with budget to hire a graphic designer or copywriter or whatever else you may need. But then you're piecemeal-ing and the people you're bringing together may not necessarily be on the same page.
It's been less than six months since I made the switch, so I'm pretty sure I'll come across a few more differences in my experiences. I'm grateful for my experience on the client side because it gives me that perspective of what a client's expectations might be. It helps me in my current job to understand the pressures the marketing communications team of a company may be facing. Also, the dabbling gave me a foundation of understanding aspects of the creative team's work. I'm excited to keep growing on the agency side. I love all of the clients I've worked with so far and I look forward to working with many more.