When I look at the resumes of those who now hold senior leadership positions in digital marketing, many got their first break working with an agency in various digital marketing agency jobs. Digital agencies blend creative with the latest online technology, usually in the context of integrated, sales-oriented campaigns. They run the gamut from global organizations that offer a full palette of integrated digital marketing solutions and cutting-edge technologies, to small mom-and-pop shops that offer highly specialized expertise in such areas as search engine marketing and optimization, website development, digital analytics, paid search, email marketing, mobile marketing, you name it. As a digital agency recruiter, I have seen first hand how digital marketers have jump started their careers by starting on the agency side.
When agencies land new business they often have to staff up pretty quickly, creating an immediate need for web designers, search and display experts, digital analysts, and many other digital marketing agency jobs. These hiring needs often take on a sense of urgency, as the agencies must ramp up fast to get client projects up and running. So when you see postings for digital marketing agency jobs, these are real openings that typically need to be filled real fast. And not all of them require a boat load of experience. Basic knowledge, a willingness to learn and work hard, a dash of moxie, and a good helping of enthusiasm can get you a long way in your interview for an account executive or coordinator position.
How does working at a digital agency compare with the work environment of a client-side company that sells and markets products directly to the customer? An agency client once summed it up very succinctly: It’s a life that does battle with the mundane. A highly structured and predictable work environment it is not. You’ll learn to work at a fast pace, you’ll get good at juggling multiple projects, you’ll become a self-starter (if you’re not already), and you’ll get accustomed to meeting constant deadlines. Indeed, the agency environment will help prepare you for almost any scenario that will be thrown your way as a digital marketer.
My best candidates that have digital marketing agency jobs have common traits: They are very comfortable with marketing technology, they’re highly strategic, they’re really good with numbers, and they get to know their client’s businesses as thoroughly as if they actually worked directly for the clients themselves.
Agency candidates also need a highly adaptive nature, since brand marketers depend on their agency partners to keep them up to speed on the latest digital solutions and technologies, and as I’ve written many times, adaptability is critical for success in digital marketing. What was trendy or considered a best practice yesterday may not be in vogue today, so agency staff members need to move with the pace of innovation. The good news is that agencies are invested in making sure the technology and knowledge they offer their clients is cutting edge. I’ve seen it happen over and over again: Get in with the right agency, and it will be like attending digital marketing grad school. There are other ways working on the agency side, particularly with a larger full-service digital shop, can be a real career booster if you’re just entering the field. You’ll be exposed to multiple accounts representing different industries and you’ll touch a variety of specialties within digital marketing. At larger digital agencies you’ll report to, and work with, true digital marketing subject matter experts. That experience can be invaluable, and it can open up a multitude of potential opportunities on the brand side.
As a digital agency recruiter, I have seen how internships offer a great way to get your foot in an agency’s door. Many of the largest digital agencies have active internship opportunities that can lead to good digital marketing agency jobs.