The rise of the digital agency in the early naughties has created a vast array of job opportunities to suit a wide range of skills, personalities and backgrounds. The size and scale of these agencies have created internal structures that although driven by experience and seniority, are very fluid and are largely influenced by the differing demands from their clients. From the acquisition of new customers from a range of paid and organic media departments, to the obsessive analysis of data within CRM and Analytical departments, digital agencies really are offering it all to the prospective candidate in 2017.

The major trend we’re seeing within the agencies we’re recruiting for is the requirement for analytical minds. This isn’t only for roles in PPC or Insight and Analysis, but it’s creeping into the usually creative and popular social media roles. The reason for this within social media for example is the paid aspect of it, where the huge social networks are selling vast amounts of ads targeting specific interests and behaviours. So making this work on a vast scale and generating the target ROI for clients and the maximum margin for your agency is a numbers game, significantly more commercial than the creative beginnings of social media or a social media manager.

The great news for relatively junior agency staff is that clients are very actively recruiting in the £18k-£25k bracket. Candidates with 1,2 or 3 years experience, from a respected agency or client side background who can display and discuss tangible results are of great interest to employers. To help develop your career, our advice at this level is to work hard, soak up the knowledge and become a source of information and knowledge for your clients and team members. Building a reputation for reliability, hard work and producing results will ensure quick progression and investment from those above you.

It would however be foolish to assume that this range of roles exists only within a digital agency environment. Larger client side organisations are replicating agency environments within their businesses, in a bid to bring the knowledge and ownership of information closer to the marketing department. As a result, businesses across a range of sectors offer these agency structures and hierarchies to agency staff and create productive creative environments to flourish. Client side job opportunities can be more lucrative as clients don’t have the agency margin to pay but the debate is whether they can access media at a competitive rate like large buying agencies do.

And what about traditional marketing and offline media? Are we so submerged in a world of digital that we’re overlooking the fact that the majority of marketers have actually got limited experience in digital? Many of the larger companies in the Northwest have a strong direct response background, based on catalogue accounts where acquisition techniques revolved around direct mail, TV or even radio. These are still strong channels for them and although digital is taking the majority of the share, there’s a need for these channels to exist. However as opposed to existing in silos, advertisers are benefiting from the understanding of how these connect, drive each other and how efficiencies can be created. Ensuring that you’re not purely focusing on one digital channel or even marketing channel can be very beneficial to your career development. 

With all this in mind, our top 5 tips for getting the digital agency job you want this year are:

  1. Understand if your chosen agency wants to silo you further into your role and offer career development if that doesn’t happen is the only way forward to broaden your role? Some PPC specialists are significantly paid because they’ve stuck at it, but that’s because of management and client management skills. Others who lack these skills may feel that opportunities are limited and broadening your role might be the answer.
  2. Do your research before the interview and understand if your experience and skill set can match. If they’re a fashion driven agency, or have a lot of travel clients, then they’ll want candidates who understand these sectors, or have experience within them.
  3. Keep your ear to the ground and keep a grasp of the latest industry developments. The industry and the sector really is moving fast and it’s essential to ensure that you’ll be offering your clients the latest information and insight to their digital campaigns.
  4. Soft skills are more important than ever. Different agencies in the region are offering different environments and offerings, requiring different backgrounds and approaches. Be enthusiastic, energetic and outgoing. Be personable, sell yourself to the clients and get an idea for the type of person who does well within an agency environment.
  5. If you’re coming from an eCommerce background into an agency role, ensure you have worked on multiple brands or campaigns under the same company so you’re ready for working with multiple clients under the one agency roof. Remember, agency life is more relaxed and sociable too compared to more corporate eCommerce environments.

Are you looking for a change of role agency side this year? Talk to one of our Agency Recruitment Team. Moving now isn’t always the answer and we’ll give you proper career advice for a great career in digital advertising agencies in the Northwest and beyond.



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