Advice, Inbound Marketing

Agency vs In-House: The Marketer’s Career Dilemma

Every now I get asked by job hunting marketers  “Which is better? Agency or in-house marketing roles?”  Of course, the answers is a huge, “Well it depends!” Having done both in-house and agency inbound marketing work, I can attest that they both have their own distinct advantages and disadvantages.  Ultimately though, I think it depends on where you’re at with your own career and what type of skills or experiences you’d like to gain.

The Case for Taking an Agency Marketing Role

Even though I’ve been in-house for the past 3 years, I wouldn’t trade the agency positions I’ve had for anything! Agency work that’s client-facing is invaluable for developing a lot of soft skills around pitching, networking, or customer service that you likely wouldn’t have as many opportunities for if you were in-house. Chances are by taking an agency gig, you’ll  get exposed to a lot of different industries (unless it’s a super niche agency) and get to do marketing work for different companies which can keep things from getting boring. It’s also nice to be an environment where your coworkers all speak something of the same language because there’s redundancy in your roles instead of being the only “search marketer” or the only “content marketer” on your team.

I’d recommend agency work to people who are either just getting started with a marketing career but want to specialize in a specific area or marketers who’ve only done in-house work for a long time, but aren’t sure where to go next. It’s a great opportunity to see what marketing is like in different industries and can help you build a portfolio of work and a lot of connections in a short amount of time.

The Case for Taking an In-House Marketing Role

Agency roles definitely aren’t for everyone. Having redundancy in roles within an agency creates quite a bit of internal competition for assignments and feeling like you must compete for accounts can create a lot of tension that is counter-intuitive to fostering a team-centric working environment.  This also happens at in-house roles where there’s role redundancy, but it is the norm of agency environments.   If you’re the type of person who can’t stand the idea of feeling like you’re in constant competition with your coworkers, you’ll likely be happier going in-house.

In-house roles also tend to lend themselves more toward achieving success via collaboration. I’ve always felt like I was part of an actual team more when working in-house. Plus, getting to work with people who aren’t just always thinking about marketing can be refreshing.

Stability is another factor – in the agency world you live and die by your clients. Not just but their deadlines or last second requests, but a lot of times when agencies end up losing big clients they often have to lay off employees. When you’re in-house you live or die by your funding source – in the venture-backed world your job is only as secure as your last round of funding. In non-profit – it’s only as stable as your grants and donations. If you’re public – whatever your stock price is and bottom line. Takeaway? If you’re in-house chances aren’t as high for losing your job if your company loses one customer.

As for a recommendation – if you’ve only had exposure to marketing in an agency environment and aren’t happy where you are now, you should really consider an in-house gig! Even if it’s not a long-term thing, getting to feel more connected to your work within one organization can help you develop some serious empathy and ideas for your future clients.


Sleep Crimes Debut EP

Well, we finally did it. Sleep Crimes now has some actual, bonafide studio recordings to share for your listening pleasure. It was my first time doing any sort of studio recording, and I’d say things went a lot better than I expected them to. We did tracking at Phoenix Down Recording Studios in Somerville, MA. Mixing and mastering was done by our buddy Kevin Carafa – a talented audio engineer based out of Portland, OR.

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Adopting a Rescue Dog: What You Need to Know

Lucy Dog - Adopted Rescue Dog

From the moment my parents brought me home from the hospital, I’ve always had a dog as a member of the family. For me, the hardest part of moving a away for college wasn’t coping with a shoebox dorm or a rotating cast of crazy roommates. It was learning how to deal with coming home without being greeted to waggy tails and that unconditional loyalty and affection only your dog knows how to give. So after living in various Boston-area apartments for almost 6 years where dog ownership wasn’t practical given my living situation (or allowed by the lease) I almost gave up on the idea of ever being able to have a dog of my own. To stick a bigger knife in your heart, my family in PA lost the two dogs I knew most of my life in two years back-to-back while I was going to school and working in New England.
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Advice, Music

Being in a Band is a Labor of Love: Lessons from Sleep Crimes

Sleep Crimes at Zuzu

A bit over a year ago I reconnected with an acquaintance from college who plays drums and decided to start a band with a few other friends. I felt like it was a now or never sort of thing for me to do at the time. Despite being a self-proclaimed music nerd, I’ve been playing guitar for over a decade and never found the right mix of people to write and play music with regularly up until that point. For me, it was very difficult to find the right balance of A. “can I effectively write and play music with these people?” and B.  “do I like being around them?”  Luckily with Sleep Crimes the answers are yes and yes – otherwise I doubt we’d make it to this point.

Now maybe you’re sitting there asking: Well why didn’t you just record and perform on your own, Sam? I personally never went down the the solo singer-songwriter path because I wanted to be part of something bigger, not be forced to take up the entire spotlight. I also had trouble finishing anything I started when it came to writing music – either I would never know how to end things or figure out how to fit the music over lyrics (and vice versa).  I always had fragments of songs that I could never fully piece together into a finished product. So I would just play for myself – improvise alone, for years, waiting to find the right group.   I wasn’t going to be in a band for the sake of being in the band…the right pieces needed to fall into place for it to happen.

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