5 in 5: What I learned in five years at a marketing agency

Here are five important things I’ve learned over the past five years.

1. You never stop learning

The industry, customer behavior, and technology never stops evolving. That means we can’t either. I need to know the latest trends and adapt my copy appropriately. That could mean shorter headlines. Different email subject lines (with emojis? Really?). Or even a new take on CTA buttons. I read about what’s changing in blogs and other online resources. Sometimes, the best learning tool is talking with colleagues. Collaboration can spark interesting ideas or offer a new way of looking at something. No matter the approach, I know my growth will never stop—and that’s what makes working in marketing exciting.

2. Collaboration is what really makes clients successful

Collaboration and close teamwork are essential to any agency. The nature of our work necessitates it. But, I learned when collaboration extends beyond the creative team—to include account executives and our clients—we deliver our best work. Collaboration builds oh-so-critical trust between team members. It also creates a better relationship with clients. And when all team members are on the same page, expectations are met and often exceeded—and everyone is happy with the result.

3. The creative process is a process for a reason

All projects have deadlines. Many are reasonable. A few can push the limits. Even when they are extremely tight, I learned that the creative process can’t be compromised (it can be condensed, though). It’s a complex process with multiple steps. When steps are skipped, creative quality suffers. And no one wants that. For quick-turn projects, I’ve learned to prioritize and fit in each step. Sometimes that means working a little later, real-time editing with the CD, or meeting every two hours with the team to make sure we’re on track. Basically, doing whatever it takes to meet the deadline—without deviating from the process.

4. Copy can always be cut. And cut some more.

5. Speed and efficiency aren’t the same thing

We wear multiple hats at our agency. I’m a copywriter and a proofer. I train new employees on our internal proofing processes. And also participate in multiple internal projects such as updating our website. Having to juggle multiple responsibilities while also delivering killer copy and performing precise editing could make someone feel the need to rush. But for me, it ramped up my efficiency. I learned exactly what it takes to comb through a document with high attention to detail. And how to prioritize projects and plan my day accordingly. Sometimes the nature of our work means I have to finish something in an hour. Most of the time, though, it means really making the most of the work time I have each day by prioritizing, focusing, and being efficient.