Working agency or client-side?

There are a huge number of roles within the agency and in-house sectors and the evolution of online and digital marketing means the boundaries within these arenas are being continuously pushed.

You could choose a career within an agency or you may prefer to go client-side. Both routes offer very different experiences. Agencies are renowned for working at a faster pace, longer hours and offering higher salaries, while in-house roles tend to be more flexible, work at a steadier pace and offer packages that are more geared around career development.

Regardless of which route you choose, we now live in a digital world, which is having a huge impact on marketing roles!

Digital is driving Britain’s growth and, as a result, new and exciting jobs are being created and starting salaries are rising. The way marketing has evolved over the past decade has meant that a seemingly endless number of career opportunities have arisen in the creative sector, from content specialist to Digital PR Manager.

And this means there are big opportunities out there for people who want to make their mark in this space.

In our experience, some people often find it easier to cut their teeth in agency world and then make the switch to client-side, rather than the other way around. Although, due to the lack of skilled candidates in the market, agencies (particularly digital agencies) are becoming more open to the idea of taking on client-side candidates.

A word of advice for graduates…

About to graduate and have your heart set on getting an agency job? We suggest you spend some time researching the different types of agencies that are out there and where they are.

Don’t be fixated on London because there’s an incredible number of agencies cropping up all over cities, such as Manchester and Birmingham. And they only tend to recruit a selective few at a junior level, so it might be worth you applying directly to them with a cool and innovative CV, as a lot of their roles may not be advertised.

If you’d like to give client-side a try, then try not be drawn in by the trendy brands because there are just as many great SMEs out there that don’t get a high volume of CVs, but can offer just as good as a career as a Blue Chip organisation. Your career journey will be much quicker with an SME and you’ll have more responsibility, which can only add value to your development.

Most of all, be open-minded about both sides and never be too quick to judge until you’ve met the people and got a feel for what they’re about and their culture.

Take a quick scoot around the marketing world and you’ll find there are all sorts of jobs out there. Some are the same, just called different things, and others, are standalone positions in their own right.  What’s more, with digital making its mark on the marketing and creative industries faster than most sectors, there are new job titles and roles popping up everywhere.

Navigating your way around all of these different jobs and job title variations isn’t easy so, here’s a quick run through of the main types of job roles out there right now:

These are the principle roles available to you:

Account Executive – Digital or Integrated 

This position would suit someone looking for a diverse and challenging role within a creative and innovative environment, and, typically, prospective employers in this environment may be more interested in looking at your personal qualities, such as how creative and innovative you are, rather that your formal qualifications.

Starting your career within an agency; digital, brand or integrated is incredibly positive as you are exposed to all the elements of agency life and are given the opportunity to work with a broad range of brands. If you can’t get into one of the bigger and more established agencies, it is sometimes more beneficial to start your career with a small or medium-sized outfit, as you will most likely get more responsibility which will strengthen your overall skills and knowledge.

Generally, in an agency, the Account Executive will act as the primary link between the different agency teams, and will generally work on a mix of accounts.  On a daily basis, you will oversee campaigns, keep an eye on costs, and timescales, and, once approved, will work with colleagues to oversee it to fruition.  You’ll be reporting to the Account Manager, who then typically reports to an Account Director; the Account Manager will also be working closely with the Account Directors and other colleagues on a number of projects, while simultaneously presenting campaign ideas and budgets to clients.


Social Media Manager

Social Media Managers can be based client-side or in agencies where they will be given the opportunity to work with multiple brands; the role involves implementing effective social media strategies, developing brand awareness, generating web traffic, and cultivating leads. This role has significantly evolved and can now involve aspects of digital project management, content generation and distribution, influencer profiling and management, social/display ads, SEO, proposal writing and client management.

You’ll take ownership for all social media marketing campaigns, which could involve producing relevant and SEO-rich web content, updating and maintaining social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest, and generating industry-specific blogs, while also developing and expanding their own and their clients’ online community through positive engagement and monitoring social media trends.

It is now important for a Social Media Manager to have wider digital expertise, display an in-depth understanding of various social media platforms, and have solid writing experience and deep knowledge of SEO principles.


Content Writer

This has to be the natural choice for anyone who loves writing, but take on board that the role of a content writer has significantly changed from just writing web content.  This is because online content covers a wide degree of subject matters.  From blog writing to video production, news articles, web content, e-marketing campaigns to white papers and social media campaigns, and pretty sure this list will continue to grow.  It’s about creating compelling material which will enhance a company’s brand and widen their target audience.

You will also have to keep up to date with SEO techniques. Search engine algorithms change constantly, and you will need to keep ahead of the game. One thing remains constant: Credible Content Writers that have truly honed their skills will always be in demand. If you can write compelling content for a broad array of subject matters, you won’t go far wrong.

If this is what you want to do, you can start by creating your own personal blogs and other online content yourself. This has been made easier due to free platforms such as WordPress and Blogger.   A degree in a related discipline, such as English Language, Journalism or Creative Writing, is advantageous if you decide to pursue this career path.

 


Designer

Designers provide the visual means to communicate a message, and do this through selecting and producing the correct images and typography. The work of a Designer is demanding and requires constant creativity, an incredible eye for detail, the determination to keep up-to-date with technical trends, and the ability to work well in a team and with a selection of departments.

A Designer will usually work closely with account handlers and creative teams to bring their clients’ briefs to life! Using their creative senses, the Designer is able to develop innovative concepts and design solutions for print and web, and produce pieces for various kinds of media, including advertisements, websites, magazines, posters, brochures, leaflets, and now stretches to apps and mobile.

The job landscape in the design profession has changed beyond recognition over the past few years. In today’s evolving market, Designers need to be able to switch their creative intuition from a corporate brochure to a multi-layered website, and will also be expected to learn new software packages. It makes for a very interesting career choice, but be prepared for a lot of hard work and the challenges your creative mind will face!


Digital Account Manager

A Digital Account Manager is the key link between the agency and the client, ensuring that digital briefs are interpreted diligently, and delivered on time and within budget. In essence, you are the front line for client contact and you will lead the creative and sometimes technical development of projects, which could include e-commerce and promotional websites, email marketing, banner adverts, mobile apps, motion graphics, and social media platforms.

This function may vary from that of a Digital Project Manager, a role which will see you manage schedules and plans, and, in the vast majority of cases, hold your clients’ hands through the more technical and development stages of a project. Their expertise will lie in their ability to translate technical issues into plain terms so that their client has a clear vision of what is happening through all stages of the design and build. A Digital Project Manger will normally have sound planning and organisational ability, and a good understanding of web architecture, user experience, content, SEO, and analytics. A Prince 2 qualification is also associated with a Digital Project Manager’s skills set.

The majority of Digital Account Managers or Project Managers will have a business, computer science or IT-related degree, and a genuine interest in and passion for new technologies.


Digital Marketing Executive   

A budding digital guru will work client-side, not for an agency. The role of a Digital Marketing Executive is incredibly broad as they can work on online & offline campaigns such as the control of high quality web content, SEO, PPC, Google Analytics, and other projects such as PR and media relations, events, product development, sponsorship, and research. The role is often challenging, varied, and exciting.

You may also be known as a Digital Assistants or Digital Marketing Coordinator. These roles will frequently involve working with suppliers, external agencies, colleagues in other departments, and marketing colleagues such as Product Managers.

In today’s world of commerce, successful marketers need an ever-increasing skill set and you will need to be numerate and analytical as well as innovative, intuitive, quick thinking, and able to grasp new technologies and ideologies quickly.  You’ll most likely need digital marketing experience of content management systems (CMS), SEO, UX, web content generation know-how & ability to run and analyse email platforms.

You will also need to be confident, persuasive, and able to get the best out of those around you.


PR Account Executive

Many get into PR by interning while at university. Most PR agencies and communication departments offer internship opportunities, where you’ll learn how to make contacts in the business and build up a portfolio. To get in, you’ll need a good general education and the proven ability to communicate well, both in writing and speech. An English or related degree will help, as will a PR-based one, training in marketing and/or communications, or a writing-based role. With the explosion of online media over the past few years, PR is more important than ever, and companies are hiring more agencies and PR Executives to manage internet relationships.

PR Account Executives work for agencies, either independent or fully-integrated ones. They strive to establish goodwill and understanding for their clients, and monitor the publicity that is generated on their behalf.  They will liaise on a daily basis with the client to update and report on the success of the publicity.  Without question, you must have excellent skills in writing, organising, public speaking, and must be able to source all manner of specialists. They may be asked to ghost-write a newsletter, organise a press launch, write a 1000-word trade article, produce a snappy blog,  lobby some MPs, or organise a fundraising event. They need to be intelligent, thoughtful, resilient, and versatile.

 

 

It’s a fascinating sector, and we wish you luck with whichever career path you decide to take!
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