Six Tips for Starting out in a Digital Agency
It seems just days ago that I was being shepherded into a confusingly-named meeting room for my interview, and yet somehow, six months have passed since I joined ROAST. It’s been a roller-coaster ride all the way from Intern to New Business & Marketing Exec. So, in the spirit of marking my six-month anniversary, and to help out any aspiring young agency folk, I’ve drawn up the kind of list that I wish I’d read before my first day…
Keep it Casual
Like it or not, this isn’t Mad Men. So leave your pinstripe suit at home and aim for somewhere in the broad smart-casual spectrum. If you’re an SEO fiend you’ll probably get away with trackies and a T-shirt, and if you’re a Creative Technologist you’ll need to get yourself some Harry Potter style glasses, don’t worry if you don’t actually need glasses, no one’s going to check. Just remember the golden rule – the whiter the trainers, the brighter the future.
LYA – (Learn Your Acronyms)
Digital Marketers love an acronym and the whole industry is saturated with them. So, love it or hate it you’ve got to get with the programme. The best way to learn them is just to listen to what everyone is saying in the office and ask them to translate it into actual English, or if you’re feeling shy just write it down and Google it when you get home. You’re not going to become the best PPC AE in EMEA by EOP, but you’ll be well on your way.
Work Hard, Play Hard
When it comes to clichés, this has got to be one of the worst ones out there; it physically pains me to even write it. And yet, as with most clichés, there’s a truth to it. When you’re starting out the best advice is to say yes to everything. All those people that you haven’t met in the office will be somewhere on the softball pitch, in the bowling alley or down the pub.
Go Easy on the Email Etiquette
There’s nothing more nerve-wracking than your first all-staff email. But take it easy on the formality. Any reply you get will probably be a one-worder, a meme, or link to an obscure GIF that they’ve embedded in an emoji. So a carefully considered ‘Yours Sincerely’ sign off may end up looking a bit too… sincere. On the other hand, you’ve got to be wary of going too far the other way, any email with three or more smiley faces tends to be read as a cry for help.
Don’t Expect to Know Everything
Less than 30 years old, Digital Marketing is still very much in its adolescence as an industry. Spotty, moody and unpredictable; you never know what it’s going to do next. The problem with this is that any book on the subject that your Mum has picked at your local Waterstones will be hideously out of date by the time it ends up in your Christmas stocking. But alongside this there’s a huge upside – things change so fast that nobody can know everything. So don’t feel bad about being so ignorant, everyone’s in the same boat.
Read industry titles, such as The Drum
Following on from my last point, you’ll never know everything about marketing, but reading Marketing news, opinions and updates in publications such as The Drum is as good a place to start. Whether you’re still in the stage of criss-crossing London on your way to job interviews or whether you’ve got in the door and have graduated to the level of water-cooler chatter, it’s always good to have skim-read the latest opinion piece on the big-spending campaign that seems to be stalking you all through your commute.
I hope you enjoyed the list, I’ll be back in six months with another one that’s twice the size! Until then remember the key takeaway from section one, “The whiter the trainers….”