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Moving between agency and client side

There are lots of key differences between working in-house at a client or in a creative or marketing agency, and lots of reasons why you want to move from one to the other. With the help of Emma Booty, a designer who has worked as a creative director for Babylon Health, Bodyshop and Lando, we’ve lined up the pros and cons of working for an agency, vs working in house.

Transitioning between the two can be seamless and lead to a successful and rewarding career change, but there are significant differences between roles within an agency and a client-side marketing team.

People who work agency-side are more likely to work long hours. If you’re working in a client-side role your hours are more  likely to be 9-5 or 9 till 6pm, so if you prefer routine, client-side could be for you.

Life at an agency is generally a fast paced affair, with lots of clients to look after and bigger teams. It’s perfect for the ‘easily-bored’ and people who love a challenge. An advantage to working client-side is that you work alongside the decision maker, meaning your ideas can get signed-off on quicker. Emma thinks that the flipside of that is that people working client-side might steer clear of more audacious ideas.

When you work client side ‘you’ll immediately edit those ideas out because you know the reasons why you can’t do that.’

Working at an agency will see you working with a mixed bag of clients and brands, giving you the opportunity to soak up all sorts of knowledge across a diverse portfolio. But, as Emma says, staying in the same agency can lead to a monoculture.

Working in-house gives you the opportunity to live and breathe one brand, so you can be fully immersed in that company. You’re not juggling numerous brands, audiences or demographics, so you can keep your focus and expertise in one industry.

As with any fast-paced environment, the turnover of staff within an agency is higher, meaning there are more roles available and, more often than not, better chance to rise to the top quicker.  However, the roles are sought-after and competition to get the best positions is fierce.

Client-side positions don’t come up as often, so the positions get snapped up quickly when they do come about. Especially for high profile companies.

But how do you know when it’s time to move? According to Emma, if you’re asking yourself that question you should probably consider thinking about your next move. She thinks she has really benefitted from experiencing both sides. Click on the link to watch the whole interview with Emma Booty.