For all of you starting out in your marketing careers or looking to make a change there is one big decision that you should consider.

Do you go to work for a Marketing Agency or an In House postition at a company?

Most people do not give this question enough consideration and it can end up causing much heartache and even cause some to be left with a negative view of our industry.

To appreciate the differences you need to first understand why a comapny would choose to hire an outside resource or keep this work in house. And sometimes decide on a mixture of both.

If a company is lare enough, they will often times have internal marketing people and even multiple departments depending on need and budget. They may even have a team for each individual brand.

A lare enough company that can afford it will often times opt for their own internal marketing person or multiple people because they can. When comapred to most small businesses that barely have enough people to conduct day to day operations, the idea of having just one employee dedicated to the sole purpose of marketing is a luxury so fantastical, they would not even consider it for more than two minutes.

These companies either choose to conduct one type of marketing with a set it and forget it mentality or they choose to hire a small agency to help them with this. The monthly budget for a small agency can often be less than the cost of hiring a dedicated person.

For a larger company with in house talent, they reap the benefit of individualss dedicated to and knowledgable about the brand. People that are not distracted with other concerns and whose sole focus is success in this position.

How does this apply to Career Choice

In house marketing positions have a lot of benefits and drawbacks. But the day in and day out focus on one or a limited number of brands or years at a time can be perceived as positive or negative depending on the individual.

Although I have never worked for a large company within an internal marketing department, I have worked for an agency in the past that was so narrowly focused in their niche, I imagined it to be very similar.

For those who ae considering an agency opportunity, know that it differs in many ways

Often times you have multiple clients. This means reporting to many “bosses” and having many different goals and KPI’s.

The work can be varied. Depending on the agency you work for, you may have a strong focus of paid advertising for one client and have a very active social media presence for another.

Many agencies have multiple industries and cookie cutter solutions will usually not work for all.

Back to those multiple clients. With an internal position you usually get to know the players within your company. Nice people, mean people and so forth. But eventually you reach that equilibrium and find your way to navigate through it all.

Within an agency, this task is compounded by the fact that you have multiple customers with all of their own internal politics. People shift positions often with this many companies and you are rarely with these people during everyday work hours to build rapport.

Since companies look to agencies to know the answer to everything, this can often times put a lot of pressure on these individuals. (Although hiring an agency can be a lower cost than hiring marketing personnel, the actual hourly rate can often times be much higher and customers never lose sight of this)