Marketing remains a popular career choice for many young people. Roles are varied, and there is ever more demand for marketers. There are a great many career paths available so there is something to suit people from all backgrounds, with varied interests and desires. One thing that still divides opinion, however, is whether to focus your career in agency marketing spaces or work on building a career within corporate ‘in-house marketing teams.

Different workplaces suit different people, so let’s consider the pros and cons of agency vs in0house for jobseekers to consider their needs at whatever stage of career progression you are at. Whether you are looking to learn new skills, add brands to your CV, work with different clients or change careers there is certainly a lot to think about.

Pros and Cons of In-House Marketing

In simple terms, in-house marketing is defined as marketing work that’s done within an organisation or business by its employees rather than by external people. An in-house team will ultimately own the end-to-end digital process, determining strategies to create ads, emails, blogs and whitepapers, and analysing activities in real-time.

In-House Marketing Pros

  • Working for a big company allows you to progress up the career ladder in a straightforward and linear way: intern to assistant to executive and so on.
  • These roles can be diverse as they allow you to pull together your planning skills and liaise with different teams to put plans into action.
  • In a small in-house team, task diversity can be great. Marketers can get involved in multiple aspects of digital marketing and gain exposure to different roles and channels which is great for building skills.

In-Hour Marketing Cons

  • If marketing is just a small department, one of many functions in a company, there may be a less well-defined ladder to climb. So, if you are in a small in-house marketing team, it may not be as straightforward to plan career development. 
  • In companies with larger marketing teams, roles can be less diverse so your day-to-day task diversity may be limited. 
  • Working in-house, marketers typically concentrate on promoting a single company and so have less chance to get creative in solving diverse brand challenges. This doesn’t apply to all companies, however. Exceptions to this rule would be companies which have a varied product portfolio or manage multiple brands.   


Pros and Cons of Agency Marketing Careers

A marketing agency is a company that serves various clients in one or more areas of marketing.  Agencies can work with many different clients with different budgets and different goals.

Agency Marketing Pros

  • Career development may not take such a linear path but in an agency, you usually have the opportunity to try more roles.
  • A range of clients can help agency marketers experience many different aspects of marketing that come with working with a variety of accounts. This can give individuals a broader understanding of marketing, media and advertising industries,  
  • Although larger marketing agencies may focus teams on single enterprise accounts, it’s more common for agency marketers to support a range of clients across multiple industries. This offers great exposure to how companies in different sectors adapt their marketing, and can be a valuable learning opportunity. 

Agency Marketing Cons

  • Agencies are employed by another business or individual so you will be at the beck and call of your clients. You will be expected to create and implement solutions and campaigns to their deadlines.
  • Because of this, it is unlikely you’ll have the final say over campaigns. And, depending on the deadlines imposed the hours tend to be longer within agencies.
  • Roles can be very narrowly defined in terms of scope. Larger agencies create carefully structured teams for efficiency. As with in-house work, the big variable here is agency size – smaller agencies can offer the chance to experience more variety as they don’t always have the same bandwidth as larger agencies to create silo-ed specialist teams.

Career Development In Agency Marketing vs In-House Marketing

This is where it gets interesting. Marketers can develop their careers within the same company or by switching companies. It’s common for marketers to feel that their career path should begin on the agency side in order to build the skills needed to ‘jump the fence’ to an in-house team. 

Building a career on the agency side and embracing the learning opportunities this provides can give candidates a lot of experience across multiple sectors. This allows them to move to the corporate, in-house side potentially maximising their earnings and job satisfaction when they do. However, making this move too early can hold a marketer’s career back, as they may lack expertise to make an impact in an in-house team.

Which One Is Best For You?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer and much of this will come down to your personality and preference. Not all agencies can be compared like to like, neither can all corporate marketing teams. Some people are more suited to agency marketing work than in-house work from the outset. For example, if you enjoy different challenges and managing multiple types of projects, as well as a fast and more versatile pace of life then agency work might be more suitable for you.

Many in-house roles are more structured and have shorter hours, although this is not universally applicable.

So, what can you take away from this? Each job is different, whether it is agency or in-house and you should be clear on your career progression goals to help you make the right choice. There is always the opportunity to change and move on, so get out there and give it a go!

Did you enjoy reading this today? You might enjoy Marketing Graduates and Employability or Graduate Salaries: What To Expect

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