Agency vs In House

I forget which recent episode it was (28, 29, something like that) of Inside PR that discussed the benefits of agency life vs in-house life for PR, but it has gotten me thinking.

Now, I have never worked in an agency.  I’ve always worked in house, be it in sales, marketing or other capacity. While this can be beneficial because the in-house staff can learn just about that business, I think there is one BIG benefit to agency life that I’m missing out on (unfortunately!).

In an agency, everyone does PR, or marketing, or design, or whatever the specialty is.  In a corporation, people do the thing the corporation does.  So, they’re experts in that, but not necessarily marketing or PR. This is tough for me for a few reasons.

1)  I’m young and fairly inexperienced.  People I’ve worked with/for look to me for guidance in PR and Marketing and, while I’m happy to help, I don’t always have the answers.

2)  I don’t have that “mentor” I can go to with questions.  Sort of an offshoot of number one.  In an agency, I imagine it’s easy / beneficial to get advice, tips, guidance, etc from experienced pros.  Again, this isn’t as possible in-house.

3)  In-house people haven’t necessarily drunk the PR/Marketing “Kool-Aid”  In an agency, everyone understands the importance of what we do.  This isn’t always the case in a corporation where many people see these things as an expense vs an investment.

If I had to choose one thing that I regret not getting that I may be able to in an agency, it’d be #2.  I don’t feel I have someone to learn from, to bounce ideas off of, etc.  I’m forced to figure things out myself, listen to podcasts, read blogs, books etc.  These things are all beneficial and I love doing them, but sometimes I need someone to sit down with and have them walk me through the things I may have missed.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to work my way into an agency someday to gain these great benefits.

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Agency vs In House

4 thoughts on “Agency vs In House

  1. Kevin, thanks for listening to Inside PR. It’s always nice to connect with a listener we never knew we had.

    I think your points are bang on. I’ve worked on both sides and it is #2 and #3 that always pull me back.

  2. David:

    It’s very much in the forefront of my mind right now especially. I spend so much time trying to “prove” that I know what I’m doing and avoid asking stupid questions, that I feel I’m missing out on learning some of the skills that will make me more effective in the long haul.

    So, hearing your discussion really crystallized some of the thoughts I had.

    Thanks for your comment and keep up the good work!


  3. David:

    Hearing your episode crystallized some thoughts I had been having. I spend so much time trying to prove that I know what I’m doing that I never feel I can ask or learn from other people in the company. I feel it’ really hinders my effectiveness for the long term

    Thanks for the comment. Love the show!

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