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How a stint in advertising makes you a better marketer


How a stint in advertising makes you a better marketer


Solange Francois took the leap to the other side, from marketing into agency land, and brought back these insights.


In 2013 I decided that I wanted to try my luck in agency land. I’d been an in-house marketer since I’d graduated, and frankly -– and I don’t use this word lightly – I was bored.

I spent the next 15 months agency-side. It was everything I’d hoped it would be: fast-paced, creative, full of clever, interesting people and up with the play with tech and emerging channels.

I’ve returned to in-house marketing, and the way I’m approaching what I do now has been enhanced by what I learnt during those 15 months.


1. It makes you work faster

The ad industry is highly competitive and incredibly fast-paced. If you don’t keep up and communicate effectively with all the right stakeholders, you quickly fall behind.


2. It makes you more headstrong

The industry is full of people who are so passionate about it, that of course, there are going to be some egos. Figuring out how to manage personalities without being a dick is a pretty handy skill to have for both personal and professional relationships.


3. It gives you the potential to be a great client

Or, an incredibly difficult one! You know how agencies work. You understand their business models and processes. You know that there are limited rounds of feedback and that deadlines are tight.


4. It arms you with excellent connections

Social, digital, content production, photography, design… after a stint in advertising, you have incredible connections that you can now call on.


5. It makes you better at self-promotion

Agencies and their people are brilliant at talking about themselves and achieving recognition. ‘Humility’ isn’t a word you’d associate with adland. Why? Because ideas aren’t easy to sell.


6. It illustrates the difference between goals, objectives, strategies and tactics

Setting broad goals is straight-forward. It takes greater effort to define what success looks like for achieving those goals (objectives) and what the approach will be for reaching those specific objectives (strategies). When you don’t take any planning shortcuts, the ‘how will we do it’ (tactics) becomes more targeted.


7. It makes you always think, “What’s the brief?”

In advertising, everything is about the brief. What is the purpose of what you’re doing, what are the expectations, and how will the results be measured? An effective brief will define responsibilities, timelines, budgets, assumptions and mandatories. No brief, no talk.

Have you worked both in-house and agency-side? What have you learned from each?


Solange Francois is a freelance marketing consultant specialising in social, digital and strategic communications. Connect with her on Twitter @solangefrancois



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