Agency or In-house: Which Is Better for Developing Your Medical Marketing Career?
If you’re interested in a career in online medical marketing, you’ve made a wise choice. Both fields, healthcare and online marketing, are growing — and on the marketing side, there is huge demand for talented, trainable people for all sorts of jobs.
People entering the job market have two very different choices for getting started in online medical marketing. They can go to work for an agency, or in-house for a healthcare organization. As with everything, both options have various pros and cons. Let’s take a look at a few of the most important.
Pros and Cons of an Online Marketing Agency
Learn quickly. Some marketing agencies specialize in medical marketing, and others are more generalized in their client base. Either way, an agency offers a fast learning curve. Because agency employees are immersed in their specialties day in and day out, they have a wealth of knowledge to pass along to you. You’ll learn very quickly — not only the basics but the bigger picture, strategic aspects of online marketing and how various disciplines (SEO, PPC, email, content marketing, etc.) serve marketing and organizational goals.
Pressure. Agencies tend to be very fast-paced, with deadlines ever-looming. Clients put a lot of pressure on agencies to produce results — and even as a new employee, you’ll feel it. Pressure can be a positive or a negative depending on your temperament, but if you acquire the ability to perform under pressure, you’ll be that much more valuable to future employers.
Pros and Cons of In-House Marketing
Security and stability. While the learning curve is usually a bit slower in-house, this is offset by an increase in security and stability versus an agency. Agencies typically have a lot of turnover, whereas in-house your employer is probably hoping you’ll stay awhile since it is making an investment in your training and wants continuity in the workflow process. Also, healthcare organizations may provide more ample benefits than an agency — definitely something to consider, especially if you have dependents.
Exposure. You’ll have a career path working in-house, but you’ll probably have less flexibility to try different types of online marketing jobs. At an agency, you’ll be able to get work experience in various areas (research, project management, copywriting, design, etc.). So, if you’re not exactly sure what type of marketing work best suits you, an agency is a better choice.
An agency is an excellent option for training and development. With a few years of agency work under your belt, you may become more attractive to a healthcare organization — the more training you have coming in, the less they will have to teach you, and the faster you will be able to produce results.
Then again, you may find agency work exciting and challenging, and decide to make that your long-term career. No matter where your career takes you, you can’t possibly go wrong working for a company (agency or healthcare organization) that treats employees fairly, prioritizes training, and runs its business efficiently and responsibly. No matter whether you’re focusing on an agency or in-house position, always look for these qualities in an employer.
Brad Shorr is Director of Content Strategy at Straight North, an SEO agency headquartered in the Chicago area. He has worked in marketing in-house, at an agency and as a freelancer.
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