What is a work placement with a digital agency really like?

Strawberrysoup is always on the look out for the best in local digital talent, and by helping to educate and engage with students and graduates we hope to leave our stamp on an industry that is continuing to grow. We often get asked in abundance whether we can help students with work placements, which we try to accommodate where we can. This time, we thought we’d share our story…

Recently, we have had the pleasure of working with Hannah Wright, a third year Business and Marketing student at Chichester University. For the past ten weeks, we’ve been working with Hannah to help develop an understanding of life at a digital marketing agency and provide an insight into what its really like behind the doors of a digital marketing agency. This isn’t to suggest that we have any secrets, although it does provide insight into how daily life at an agency requires forward thinking, team work and of course expertise.

Introducing Hannah…

After deciding to take part in a work placement as part of my university degree, the search was on to find a suitable company where I could not only learn, but apply what I have been studying at university in a working environment.

Prior to my time with Strawberrysoup, my experience of working within a Digital Marketing Agency was non existent, however through my studies I shared a particular interest in online marketing and more specifically SEO. By opting for a work placement, I wanted to make sure that I gained a valuable and considerable amount of experience, knowledge and understanding into a fast-paced digital marketing environment. This was not only to help piece together my final dissertation, but also to prepare me for life as a postgraduate seeking full-time employment. As I reflect over my time at Strawberrysoup, I wanted to share some of the key takeaways i’ve gained from agency-side experience…

Everyday is a different day

During my ten weeks with Strawberrysoup, I was quick to realise that no two days are ever the same! Partly because as an agency Strawberrysoup work with a diverse range of clients, meaning that daily activity ranges from project to project, depending on channel. It could be a task relating to search, social, design, development or one of the many other areas covered: one day I had found myself looking for opportunities to increase the visibility of a local business and on others providing content ideas and research for global brands.

Some may consider that a different schedule everyday may provide uncertainty, however having to prioritise tasks effectively allows colleagues to develop strong project management skills; the ability to be able to prioritise, adapt quickly, make decisions efficiently and also being aware of potential risks, are just a number of skills needed to work effectively within the digital agency field. Although I was aware that in some cases these skills were necessary, I didn’t realise how imperative these aspects were to the overall success of a digital agency and the projects delivered.

Clients are of course the key focus

Another noticeable and important point from my experience with Strawberrysoup, is that each client is always at the forefront of any project. Regardless of how big or small they are, the relationship between clients and Strawberrysoup are always of the upmost importance, especially through the building of trust from both parties. This is helped by the delivery of projects on often tight turnarounds and in line with expectations from both sides.

A recent study conducted by Marketing week suggests that within modern era, a relationship contract between client and agency would not fight shy of:

  • Articulating common goals
  • Shared ambitions
  • Expectations from both parties
  • Understanding how to motivate and incentivise performance
  • Understanding how to manage the relationship with honesty and openness
  • Processes needed to be put into place to manage and monitor performance

Strawberrysoup always strive to provide the best possible service and it was refreshing to be a part of.

Strong collaboration

One of the benefits of working within a digital agency is the strong collaboration that exists between employees. Although you have a similar desire with peers at university, I have come to realise that in the digital marketing environment it is completely different: within an agency, you are working with people who have similar passions as you, who have a similar marketing, design or development mindset that can help develop through processes and ideas to achieve successful outcomes. Strong collaboration also allows for progressive learning to occur between colleagues, through the ability to brainstorm and bounce collaborative ideas off one another.  Within this agency environment, the expertise of being able to collaborate amongst employees also provides an array of interpersonal skills that can be then used when working with clientele.

Last but not least. You’ll never have time on your hands

Before arriving onto placement, I wasn’t 100% sure about Strawberrysoup’s company culture or what to expect. I knew it would be fast paced, but I wasn’t sure just how busy things could be. There was always something for me to do and get stuck in with, and I have gained great exposure to many of the different areas of working in digital. For a company that are always aiming high, there is no time to be content. Strawberrysoup always aim to go above and beyond, by providing extra surprise and delight elements for their clients where possible.

From my experience over the past ten weeks, it is fair to say that working with StrawberrySoup can be likened to being part of a lively social group. The Chichester office is vibrant, exciting and most important of all productive. This is thanks to some of the team building that occurs, such as being able to play table tennis during your lunch break, work flexible hours or enjoy the weekly breakfast clubs. The importance of this within agency life really demonstrates a healthy work-life balance, which is known to have a significant impact on employee engagement, motivation and interest.