After starting my career in brand marketing on the client side at a global CPG company, I decided to expand my horizons (literally and figuratively) when I made the jump over to start-up agency life at Exact Media after travelling around South America without an agenda for several months. They say, “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”, but this would be a true test for me to see the marketing world from both sides. For those sitting on one side of the “marketing” fence wondering what it’s like on the other side, I’ll share with you the top 3 differences that I’ve found between these two worlds and let you decide for yourself if the grass is still greener…

  • Speed to Market – As a brand manager in a CPG company, you are probably used to starting your brand plans 12-18 months in advance. Depending on your personality, you either love having this much time to plan ahead and work through endless iterations of your ideas until gaining final alignment from senior management or you get frustrated by the “red tape” and the time it takes to bring a new idea to market. If the latter sounds more like you, you may just find happiness in a start-up agency where you have more autonomy to make decisions on the fly and can bring ideas to life in as little as a couple of weeks.
  • B2B vs. B2C Marketing – In my first weeks at Exact Media, I remember struggling to think about marketing in a B2B context as my past experience in CPG had all been focused on communicating directly with consumers. In the agency world, you must switch your focus to B2B marketing since your main goal is driving awareness and trial of your product/services across other companies. Forget about homepage takeovers, consumer promotions and digital billboards…think awesome case studies, blog posts and website redesigns.
  • Resources – Does the idea of having a limited budget motivate you to find creative ways to do more with less? Or does it leave you feeling frustrated and wishing you could secure additional funding for all the latest and greatest marketing techniques you’ve read about in Marketing Magazine? Working in marketing for a start-up agency often means not only having fewer financial resources, but also being comfortable working as a team of 1 (or 2 if you’re lucky) and having full ownership of your ideas and results. Some people thrive in this type of environment, while others gain energy from being surrounded by a large team of fellow marketers to bounce their wacky and cool ideas off.

So what do you think? Is the grass really greener?