Ever imagine yourself in a whirlwind of creativity, strategy, and caffeine? If the dynamic world of digital marketing gets your heart racing, you may think that working as a marketer in an agency might be your dream job (and it’s quite common at that age.) 

So much so that, The Social Shepherd predicts the industry will explode by 32.1% by 2028, creating exciting opportunities. However, We recommend you hold on for a second before applying for “those great” marketing agency jobs;  it’s vital to understand the unique blend of perks and challenges that come with agency life. 

This blog will be your compass, guiding you through the exhilarating (and sometimes intense) world of digital agencies. Most importantly, we’ll help you decide if the digital agency career path aligns with your work style and goals. 

What Is It Like to Work in a Digital Marketing Agency?

As you may already know, agencies juggle multiple clients across diverse industries. One day you might be creating a social media campaign for an online clothing store, and the next, you’re knee-deep in website content optimization for a legal firm. This constant variety keeps things exciting and challenging. 

So, here are the exciting and challenging things about working at a digital marketing agency. 

The Perks of Working for a Digital Agency

As we mentioned at the beginning, agencies are all about teamwork (and being a team member as well). The best part is you are surrounded by talented colleagues with diverse expertise – from designers and copywriters to social media specialists and data analysts. 

That perk also carries brainstorming sessions, project discussions, and collaborative efforts which are the backbone of success. That’s great because this fosters a strong sense of camaraderie and shared victories, echoing the collaborative and creative environment.  

And here’s a major perk of agency life: creative independence. Unlike some corporate roles with rigid guidelines, new-age agencies (especially remote and hybrid ones) empower their employees. With less streamlining or micromanagement, you have the freedom to experiment, test new ideas, and push boundaries. 

The Skills You’ll Gain

🧠Collaborative Creativity: Digital agencies thrive on teamwork. You’ll be surrounded by diverse skill sets – designers, copywriters, social media specialists, and more. 

🧠Fast Learning: Digital agencies are leading the charge when it comes to keeping up with the latest in digital marketing. That means you’ve got to be quick on your feet and ready to learn new things at a moment’s notice.  Eager to keep up with the latest in technology, platforms, and tools?  

🧠Networking: The marketing world is quite small; so, when you work at an agency, you’re surrounded by colleagues with similar career paths as you. In other words, former co-workers may become your clients, vendors, or even colleagues at different agencies. So, building a network within the marketing industry can open doors to opportunities down the road.

The Challenges of Working for a Digital Agency

The most-known & most-faced side of working in that area is the compulsory of wearing many hats at the same time. As you may know, unlike many other professions, marketing roles (especially in digital agencies) demand versatility. For example, you might be a content writer who also dabbles in social media strategy or a graphic designer who contributes to email marketing campaigns. Even though it allows you to develop a well-rounded skillset and gain a holistic understanding of digital marketing, it’s not a picnic at all. 

The second most challenging aspect of becoming a digital marketing team member is deadlines and clients’ expectations. Tight deadlines and ever-evolving client needs are the norm. This can be exhilarating for those who thrive under pressure, but it’s also crucial to be adaptable and prioritize tasks effectively. 

At that point, we need to remind you that deadlines loom large in agencies. So, it’s best to be prepared to put in extra hours to meet client’s needs, especially during campaign launches or reporting cycles. In other words, working in an agency is not a 9-to-5 gig. However, the main question is whether the satisfaction of delivering results is worth the hustle for you. 

And yes, not all clients & projects are easy to deal with. You might encounter micromanagers, those with unrealistic expectations, or slow decision-makers who delay approvals. Mastering communication and diplomacy will be key to navigating these challenges.

The Skills You’ll Gain

🧠Multitasking: Forget digital marketing job titles; agencies are all about “hustle and heart.” You might be a copywriter who dabbles in social media strategy, or a graphic designer who gets pulled into brainstorming email marketing campaigns. This can feel overwhelming at first. 

🧠Time Management: While variety is exciting, juggling multiple projects with diverse demands can be overwhelming. Strong organizational skills and time management will be your saving grace. 

🧠Managing Expectations: Managing expectations is a crucial skill developed and sharpened within digital agencies. The fast-paced environment, client focus, and need for clear communication all contribute to building this expertise. 

Questions to Answer Before Working for a Digital Agency

We are not talking about questions like, “Am I too old for digital agency jobs?,” or “Am I creative enough to work in a digital agency?” But questions that are leading you to decide on whether you’re a good fit for an agency. 

Let’s go. 

Ready for a Lot of Shallow Work? 

As you already know, “shallow work” term refers to repetitive tasks that don’t require a high level of cognitive effort, and creativity as well. 

Even though it depends on the role and the agency culture & size digital agencies indeed have pockets of shallow work (sad but true.) Especially scheduling social media posts or responding to basic customer inquiries are the result of the fast-paced nature of agencies. So much so that, as a team member, you need to jump between tasks frequently; and that can be disruptive and hinder deep work.

Reddit Q&A thread, “Do you like working for an agency or in a company’s marketing department better?” below says the same thing we mentioned above: 

Ready for a Lot of Shallow Work? 

However, we also know that many HR professionals and administrators are working on these issues to offer a healthy mix of shallow and deep work. 

Are You Comfortable with Constant Learning? 

Algorithms change, user behavior evolves, and new tools appear. What’s more? Client expectations and needs can evolve quickly. That’s the world of digital agencies and to stay effective, you need to adapt and learn these new developments.

According to a Forbes article written by a marketer, Larry Gurreri digital marketing agencies are hubs for getting new skills while remaining essential ones. And that is a great opportunity for those seeking to specialize in something important.

“In my conversations with others, I’ve heard that one of the most common fears that marketers have when they leave the agency world is that they will lose their skills, or rather that the skills they have will become obsolete. When you work at an agency, you are surrounded by marketers. Consequently, your marketing knowledge tends to increase through osmosis. You typically have managers who invest in developing you, competition between peers that drives innovation, and the encouragement of shared learning. Furthermore, you can always ask the person next to you for help when you don’t understand something.”

Do You Prefer a Fast-Paced, Deadline-Driven Environment?

Working in a fast-paced digital agency requires thriving in a constantly learning environment alongside tight deadlines. 

When it comes to deadlines, seasonality plays a big role. Many clients operate in the same fiscal year, meaning planning and budgeting often ramp up during specific quarters. Be prepared for busier periods, but know that calmer times exist too. 

To succeed, sharpen your time management and prioritize ruthlessly. Utilize tools and clear communication to collaborate effectively. Stay calm, manage stress, and adapt to changing priorities with a positive attitude. 

And a piece of bad news: The fast pace and constant pressure can lead to burnout. So, agencies that prioritize work-life balance and offer employee wellness programs are a good sign.

Are You a Team Player? 

Not surprisingly; teamwork isn’t a bonus in a digital agency, it’s the foundation. In other words, in the digital agency realm, achieving client goals is only possible by tackling challenges as a real team. A team player understands this shared responsibility. 

If you enjoy working together, achieving goals through collaboration, and celebrating shared wins, then you would like to start building your CV to apply for agencies! Before doing that, check out how to perfectly create a digital agency resume

Are You Comfortable with Ambiguity And Evolving Projects?

The landscape marketers navigate is anything but static; they are constantly bombarded with new tech, emerging platforms, and trends. Algorithms update overnight, audience preferences evolve, and client needs can sometimes feel like a moving target. 

Besides, projects “rarely go according to the initial plan.” Unexpected roadblocks, client revisions, and algorithm tweaks are all part of the digital marketing rollercoaster. 

So, it’s the home truth that being comfortable with ambiguity allows you to embrace the unknown, experiment with new approaches, and pivot your campaigns when needed. Think of it as seizing opportunities disguised as uncertainties. 

That also translates into life-work imbalance sometimes. How? Take Reddit’s user’s comment as an example:

Are You Comfortable with Ambiguity And Evolving Projects?

So, Is Agency Life Right for You?

As we mentioned throughout the blog, the world of digital marketing agencies is a thrilling adventure, but it’s not for everyone. Before diving headfirst, take a moment for introspection. At that point, knowing yourself is crucial. 

If you crave a dynamic, ever-evolving environment that challenges you to wear many hats and constantly expand your skillset, then working in a digital agency might be your dream job. On the other hand, if you prefer a more structured routine and dislike ambiguity, you might find agency life overwhelming. 

Ultimately, the decision lies in understanding your strengths, preferences, and how you navigate challenges. So, take a deep breath, assess your comfort zone, and see if the world of digital agencies aligns with the person you are and the professional you want to become.