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Should you work at a marketing agency or in house?

Should you work at a marketing agency or in house?




I'm not usually one for viewing people in binary terms where everyone slots perfectly onto two neat sides. But if you were to pull together all the marketers of the world and ask them to pick between agency marketing and in-house marketing, very few would claim to have no preference. 

It took me a while to discover it for myself, but I'm an in-house girl. I love getting to know a brand inside out and truly understanding its message - especially when I get to work in an industry as fun as travel! My only brush with agency work has been through internships and work experience, where I had to learn very quickly the brand message of each client (which could differ immensely from one to the next). That wasn't for me, but some marketers thrive on a variety of projects in an agency setting.

So which should you personally choose when you enter the marketing workforce? The only way to truly know is to experience both. While you're at university try and get internships on either side to work out where you'd be happiest. But to give you an idea on where you might belong, I've asked my marketing buddies on both sides what made them choose the agency or in-house path.

The variety of work

The basic rule of thumb is this: agency marketers love a variety of work and in-house marketers like working with one brand. But like all basic rules of thumbs, there can be exceptions.

Some agencies specialise in a particular industry (I once interned at POSH Communication who specialise in hospitality) and some big agencies will have specialist teams who deal with certain types of clients (B2B, B2C, corporate, third sector etc). Plus, not all clients receive the same level of attention and the variety you crave might not realistically happen. My friend is an in-house web developer at a Glasgow branding consultancy and says he spends 80% of time carrying out web work for their biggest/most important client and the other 20% split between the rest.

On the other hand, working in-house isn't always about one brand. At Barrhead Travel we own several child companies and all their marketing is controlled by Head Office so, in reality, I'm switching my hats more often than my aforementioned agency pal.

The relationship between in-house and agency

I once heard someone (who doesn't work in marketing) say "most companies do their own social media and pay a company to do the creepy things like SEO" and another person (who does work in marketing) say "in-house tends to do strategy and the agency does the creative". Both statements have been completely untrue in my experience, and how the work is split between client and agency depends on the individual relationship.

I've worked in situations where all the creative is done in-house but the external agency is used for monthly audits, external ad-hoc support during busy periods, and training. I've also worked in situations where only certain social channels were handed over to an agency, while others were kept in-house. Sometimes a company might recruit an agency because the workload is getting bigger, but not big enough to justify a new employee salary. There is a multitude of reasons why a company hires an external agency. (Tip: when you're in an interview ask if there's an external agency involved and what their role is to get a good idea of what you're walking into).

Extrovert vs Introvert

One of the best mentors I've ever had said to me "agency life is the extrovert life and in-house work is the introvert life". Unlike the statements I shared above, there has been some truth to this one. Some agencies have account managers who do all of the front-facing work for you, but if you're looking to 'move up the ladder' into a supervisory, management or director role - you'll have to meet the clients from time to time (and it won't always be pleasant conversations) and pitch to prospects. There are also some agencies that don't have account managers, so regular employees will be expected to meet clients and attend networking events. 

On the other side, I work in-house and the only people I speak to externally are those who work for the external marketing agency we use on certain projects.

Job Security

Agency marketers tend to move around a lot more - and when I asked my agency friends why this is headhunting was the most popular answer. It's really common for agencies to keep an eye on each other and sweep in on their employees with a better salary. But another reason that came up was boredom - agency marketers typically like variation and can get fed-up if the client roaster looks the same two years down the line.

There was, unfortunately, a negative reason for this movement of people that one of my agency friends brought up. He once got made redundant because the agency lost one of their biggest clients (plus the massive monthly invoice) and they had no choice but to let people go.

Progression

Since agency marketers are more likely to switch employment at a quicker pace, supervisor and management positions open up more often. A lot of agency marketers I know have progressed into senior management while still in their mid-twenties. While in-house marketers who want a promotion might have to decide if they want to wait patiently for someone else to hand in their notice, or for the company to grow enough that they can justify new supervisors.

Cool factor and company culture

When I graduated I wanted to work in one of the super-cool agencies in Glasgow because - wait for it - it fitted the hipster aesthetic I was going for at the time. I've thankfully outgrown this ridiculous thought process but I'm still slightly jealous of the agency environment. They're usually a bit more relaxed about employee dress-codes and have office happy hours - while I'm sat in my corporate office completely sober wearing heels.

Working hours

I'm yet to learn of an agency that opens up shop on bank holidays or doesn't shut off for Christmas. So if the idea of working Easter Monday makes your stomach churn or 9-5 hours work better with your young family, agency life could be for you.

If you work in-house, you might be required to work weirder hours so social media channels can stay covered. I personally work in travel and - shockingly enough - the Facebook inbox is busier at the weekend with most of the public off work, so someone from my team has to be in work answering these messages. As glamorous as a job in travel can be, it's not for anyone who cherishes their weekends and evenings. I also don't get bank holidays off.

Salaries

I've never held a full-time salaried position at an agency so I'm basing this on what I've heard through the grapevine. But salaries don't change much between in-house and agency and are more likely to be affected by the size of the company, your experience and ability, whether you work in a price-driven industry, and how generous senior management is.

All and all though, it's very difficult to know which side you belong on until you try them out. So as I said earlier, get some experience on both sides through internships and work experience to find out where you belong.

If you're a marketer, what side do you prefer? Let me know if I've missed anything.
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morag | mo adore
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Who I'm currently supporting on Patreon

Who I'm currently supporting on Patreon



I'm a big believer that creatives should get paid for their work. Unfortunately, it's a well-known reality that creatives need to hustle (especially full-time creatives). As a social justice activist, I love to support creators whose work is designed to move society forward. But these creatives have the shortest end of the stick as the Powers That Be would prefer to silence them (hence why creative careers are less profitable than corporate ones).

This is where Patreon comes in. It's a platform where you can pledge a particular amount of money per month to your favourite creators and provide them with a paycheck (and some financial stability!) for their projects. It also allows them to create content that is for their readers/viewers/listeners, rather than magazine or television execs who might try and censor them. In return, creators also provide perks and rewards for people who pledge certain amounts of money.

I currently support five people on Patreon. This might change as time goes on (I've actually pulled support for someone before) but, at this moment in time, I am happy to continue supporting these creators.

Rowan Ellis



I've been watching Rowan's videos on YouTube for years and always find myself nodding my head in agreement. I also love that she is UK-based because so many big-name activists are American and their content isn't always relevant to me.

So when I found out she had a Patreon I had to support her. I chose her $10 a month Recommendation Station package, which includes private blog posts, scripts of her YouTube videos, upcoming video schedule, the chance to vote on future topics, monthly recommendations (books, recipes etc), and a monthly book giveaway (which I won last year and the books she chose for me were on-point!).

Riley J.Dennis



Riley J. Dennis is an amazing activist. Not only do they create amazingly informative content, but they're funny to boot too! Riley is a queer, trans, nonbinary, polyamorous lesbian, and it's important to support activists who are oppressed in multiple ways, as they usually have the hardest time making money in the real world. I opted for their $5 Wonderful Human package, which gets me access to all private Patreon posts.

Marina Watanabe



Admittedly I'm a fan of Marina more for her personality. While her work is great, it's not as in-depth as I'd prefer - but she's a great choice for people looking for an introduction to social justice. Plus she's bi-racial and bi-sexual so has first-hand experience of two forms of oppression. I chose her $5 a month pledge, which provides me with access to longer videos and personal vlogs.

Dead Meat



James A Janisse is the only creator I support who doesn't specialise in social justice issues. Instead, he runs a YouTube Channel about horror movies. His channel has a variety of playlists, but it's his Kill Count that I'm always checking in on (where he "tallies up the kills in all our favourite horror movies"). James, however, is very socially and politically progressive so calls out sexist and racist bullshit during his commentary, and he has refused to produce videos on horror films produced by problematic individuals. I can get behind that.

Melissa A. Fabello



I first discovered Melissa's old YouTube channel four years ago and was blown away by her content. She has a knack for breaking down academic and complex ideas into bite-size pieces written in layman's terms. Thanks to her I've developed a higher understanding of the world around me, protected myself from societal brainwashing, and been able to verbalise experiences that previously irked me but I couldn't explain why.

Most of her work centres around body image activism and beauty culture, but she also touches upon media literacy and human sexuality (she holds a PhD in this field). I currently support her for $2 a month, which allows me access to her private Patreon posts. Though I have considered her $5 tier, which would allow me access to her book reviews.

Who are your favourite creators on Patreon? 

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morag | mo adore
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How to speak to a girl on Tinder, by a girl on Tinder

How to speak to a girl on Tinder, by a girl on Tinder




Once upon a time, essential life skills were limited to cooking a Sunday roast, washing your bedsheets, addressing an envelope, paying bills, and changing the oil in your car.

But in 2019 speaking to strangers on apps and social media is just as essential a life skills as unclogging your plug hole (hahaha I said the word hole in a blog post about dating hahaha I'm so mature).

And that includes Tinder (plus other dating apps).

If you don't know how to Tinder then you're probably going to get left behind in the dating game. Or just not have a dating game, at all. Or not get laid, ever.

But judging by some of the messages I receive on Tinder (and other dating apps) it's clear that many of us still haven't mastered the art of Tinder. My phone really appreciates being slammed down on my bed in frustration.

But all life skills can be improved on. Just like learning to read and write as a child, learning how to wow people on Tinder is a skill that can be honed.

Maybe.

I'm writing a guide anyway.

So here we go. My guide to not being a weirdo on Tinder.


Don't swipe right on every girl


Storytime: I briefly dated someone from Tinder who swiped right on my photos alone and only read my bio when it was time to craft an opening message. It was absolutely lovely to find this out - and to know that he would have left swiped had he read I was vegan!

FFS.

Also, take dealbreakers seriously. I have that I don't want children on all my dating profiles. But that doesn't stop people who want kids (or already have them!) from trying their luck anyway. Dealbreakers are dealbreakers; it doesn't matter how amazing someone is otherwise.

Personally, I've found Tinder much less stressful and headache-inducing since I became fussy about who I swipe right on. If I was at a party I wouldn't start flirting with everyone in the room; I'd only start making eyes if they stood out to me. I now behave exactly the same way on Tinder. It's been a breath of fresh air not trying to force conversation with twenty different people.


Use her bio as a starting point


I'm not offended by "Hey, how are you?" as an opening line. I'm a socially awkward turtle and not always the best at an opening line myself. A bad opening line does not mean that someone isn't life partner material. 

But the conversation will become meaningful more quickly if you use their bio as a starting point. "Hey, I notice you also like Celtic. Me too! Did you see the game last Saturday?" is a simple opener that gets the conversation moving but doesn't require you to be a witty comedian.

Google any words in their bio that you're not familiar with


I know I come across as an unassuming straight girl in real life, but my Tinder is pretty queer-centric. I use terms like "unicorn", "no terfs please", and "poly-friendly". I also include my pronouns. I'm all for educating people, but when you've had to explain that unicorns are not always characters in children's books to 30 different guys, it gets tiresome. Just Google anything you don't understand and stop expecting people to perform emotional labour. 

No unsolicited dick pics


Unfortunately, this still needs to be said.

Ask questions


A simple way to move a conversation along is to ask questions. Ask her about the hobbies mentioned in her profile, what she did that weekend, or if she loves her job (if her job is listed; some people don't want to reveal where they work, which is fair enough).

And provide lengthy answers


Nothing makes me give up on a conversation quicker than feeling like I'm pulling teeth. If you're asked "How was your weekend?" don't reply with "boring". Even if you did spend all weekend in the house you probably didn't spend it staring at a wall. A better reply would be "Oh, I had a quiet admin weekend where I got all caught up on stuff, and I also made good progress on the book I'm currently reading."

But don't turn it into an interview

Questions are fine to get the conversation going, but if the conversation doesn't naturally start flowing into flirty banter then it might be that there's no real connection. A quick tip is to make your questions lighthearted: such as asking about their dog and favourite tv show, rather than their job and house. 

Compliment them


But on something other than their looks. My favourite opening message to receive is someone telling me why they swiped right. It makes me feel like I stood out (even if they are saying it to every other girl). 


Know what you're looking for


Not everyone Tinder is looking for the same thing. Some people are looking for The One while others are here for "a fun time, not a long time". Have an idea about what you want and make sure that is communicated. If you're looking for a serious relationship have a bit of an idea of what your ideal partner might be like. Just saves anyone from wasting time.


Have patience


I have a life outside of Tinder, but judging by some of the messages I receive you'd think about 30% of Glasgow's male population don't have jobs to go to. They also seem to be sex-ready every night and are lying in bed naked with a hard-on waiting for a girl to accept their hook-up request. Do these people not have a Netflix show to binge? 

Look, it might take a few days for a girl to respond. Her social calendar might be genuinely busy and it may take a while to pencil in that initial date. They might be settled down for the night and not able to call an Uber at short notice to hunt down a stranger's flat on the other side of town at 3am. Don't let your impatience get in the way of what could be an eventual relationship/fling/hook-up. 

If they're not straight, don't highlight it


I have no problem with someone I am actively dating asking about my sexual orientation. It is natural to wonder what my preference is, my coming out story, or whether I would consider a threesome. But when a guy asks about it while chatting on the app, I immediately feel like I'm being fetishised or they might only be speaking to me because of my sexual orientation (because that has happened). 

Don't ask for alternative contact details 


Men seem to hand out their mobile number like Haribo, but online dating (or just dating) is still scary for women. You'll find many of us won't hand out our personal contact information or social media profiles until we've sussed someone out. I've always been cautious about it, but after coming off OkCupid two years ago due to harassment (where the guy didn't have any extra contact details, blessedly) I refuse to communicate outside of dating apps until I'm actively dating that person. 

Be yourself


We're ego-centric creatures at heart and it can be tempting to Tinder in a way that focuses on your number of matches rather than quality. But not everyone fancies adventurous traveller types, who watch Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and have three dogs. Some people want a chilled out introvert who likes comics and watches Netflix all day. Don't hide who you really are because the right person will swipe right on you because you're you.

And.....remember to ask yourself the golden question:


How will this look in a screenshot on Twitter?

Happy swiping!


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morag | mo adore
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The 10 best Eurovision songs ever, according to me

The 10 best Eurovision songs ever, according to me


If you don't immediately recognise the dress, it will make sense when you find out my favourite Eurovision act. 


If I were to list my favourite yearly events, Eurovision would come second (the first would be Halloween). And I dgaf what anyone thinks of that. Years ago, I once even wrote a blog on why I love Eurovision so much. It's great and I will not hear a word against it.

With it being this Saturday and everything, I thought I'd mark the occasion with a list of my favourite Eurovision songs ever. Because I am the sort of person who thinks about these things. And if you thought that I thought about this for the sole purpose of this blog, you would be mistaken. I've long kept a mental list of my favourite Eurovision songs that I can recite when needed. This is just me putting it on paper. I might print it off later and laminate it.

In no order, until my favourite - which is at the end.

Lordi



Poor little Finland: until 2006 it had never won the Eurovision Song Contest and it doesn't even make the final half the time. But Hardrock Hallelujah was a stomper of a tune. I also went to see Lordi in 2015 when they were on tour in Glasgow because I am that cool.


Jedward



I'm not apologising for this. They've been in it twice, and I prefer Waterline to the other song. It's happy and reminds me of falling in love. That's nice.

Lena



Germany's song from 2011, which won them the title. This song was so good that my Eurovision-hating dad actually picked up the phone to vote for it. It's the only time he's ever voted.

Softengine



Apparently, when Finland do make the final I really like it.

Ruth Lorenzo




Everyone loved this one too. It's a power ballad.

Hanna Pakarinen



This was Finland's entry the year after Lordi won them the crown. It didn't do nearly as well. But it's still gothy because you can trust Finland to bring the goth. I voted for it.

The Ark



Also in 2007 was The Ark from Sweden with a bit of glam goth rock. The next day I downloaded it to the family computer from Limewire (probably with some viruses too) and it's still on my iPod to this day (it's a nano, and I still use it).

Precious



The first ever Eurovision I remember watching was in 1999, where the UK's entry was the girl band Precious. It's a happy pop song about saying I Love You for the first time. And one of their members is a pre-Atomic Kitten Jenny Frost, so what's not to love?

Selma



Alas, however, we cannot vote for our own country. So during the 1999 Eurovision, my mum let me break my voting virginity and I chose Iceland. Here is Selma with All Out of Luck (she came second, but Sweden won).

And my forever favourite Eurovision song...


Gina G



I have a slightly weird fangirl love for the one hit wonder that was Gina G. So much so, that I dressed up as her for Eurovision one year when we had to dress up as past Eurovision acts. The dress is the one in the picture at the start, and I intend on getting married in it.

She came second to Ireland and I believe she was robbed. I will die on this hill.



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morag | mo adore
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