Should I Switch to a Career in Advertising Right Now?
With so many marketers switching jobs these days, you may be wondering whether you’re in the right marketing field. Maybe you’re working in a PR agency, or perhaps you’ve been managing your employer’s branded social media channels. But perhaps the field of advertising has always seemed appealing to you. And with high turnover in the industry, you wonder whether now is the time to make a move.
Is Advertising the Right Career for You?
If you already work in the marketing industry, chances are you’ve got at least a few transferable skills. Presuming your writing, speaking, research, and organizational abilities are solid, and that you’re creative, can work well in a team, and can quickly learn new software programs as needed, you likely have what it takes for many junior-level and mid-level roles.
But the grass always seems greener on the other side. And before you ditch your current gig, you should be clear about what an advertising career entails. No matter your background, if you plan to switch to advertising, you’ll want to be clear that the pros outweigh the cons for you. Advertising isn’t for everyone, but it can be an ideal fit for many creative, organized, and hardworking individuals.
The Pros and Cons of an Advertising Career
Of course, working in advertising has many benefits. In most advertising roles, you can be incredibly creative. In fact, in the field, creativity and fresh thinking are valued.
It’s not hard to understand why. Some estimate that the average American sees anywhere between 4,000 and 10,000 ads a day. Even if you think that number is high, you’re doubtlessly aware that you see a huge volume of ads from sunup to sundown. So, advertisers must then craft advertisements that resonate with their target audience and cut through all the physical and digital ad clutter. It’s a tall order, but it invites innovative methods of messaging and delivering content.
Advertising is also about taking risks. You can often do quite well in more narrow, technical fields by meticulously producing large quantities of work, currying favor with the right people, and going with the flow. However, advertising is inherently more entrepreneurial.
You’ll advance by putting forth big and bold ideas (that work, of course). If you’ve found yourself impatient with the glacial pace of change in your current field, switching to advertising may be right for you.
Now, advertising isn’t always about creativity. It’s a profession, after all. That means, if you’re working for an agency, your client ultimately has the final say. No matter how compelling your concept is, a client can and will change it to suit their liking, even if they make it less effective.
Furthermore, you’ll find yourself doing non-creative work or work where your creativity is limited because the client wants it. Either way, that’s the job.
While you may face limits on your creativity with a client, you’ll likely be working on multiple client accounts. Subsequently, you may be able to slake your creative thirst with clients more open to radical change. But also, depending on your agency, you may find yourself working on too many client accounts. If you’ve done really well with an account or two, you may find yourself stuck with ten and expectations that you handle each equally as well.
If you’re switching to advertising without any direct experience in the field, you may find yourself starting with a low salary. By contrast, you may begin with a higher salary if you work in-house. However, especially if working for a larger company, you may also find your creativity circumscribed.
You’ll also be working for just one brand, which may take the sheen off the switch after a while. Established brands often don’t adopt marketing or advertising concepts that drastically stray from what they’ve done before.
There’s always freelance work where you can set your own rates and have some control over the projects you pick. And unlike a few decades ago, when you’d need to cold call business after business to find work, many established online platforms connect freelancers with potential clients that can help you get started.
However, it will likely be tough to attract enough clients to your fledgling advertising business who pay enough for you to pay your bills without prior experience. If you’re switching to advertising, you should first get some full-time professional experience from an ad agency or in a corporate advertising department.
Why Now May Be a Good Time to Pursue an Advertising Career
The greater marketing profession has seen an incredible amount of turnover as of late. It’s not just a result of older workers retiring (although plenty of them are). Marketing professionals are switching jobs and careers for several reasons. First, there are more openings than there are workers seeking employment. In that mismatch, workers are finding opportunities.
Marketing professionals are leaving their current positions to secure the jobs they’ve always wanted, or in some cases, just the jobs with the better title and benefits packages. Realizing that remote and hybrid-remote work has broadened the hiring pool for many attractive openings, some workers are now looking for positions that better suit their lifestyle.
Though lifestyle factors may have once seemed frivolous to ambitious professionals, the pandemic has elevated workplace safety considerations among many workers, including marketing professionals. Many advertising positions are remote, particularly appealing to workers with health issues, parents, and family caregiver responsibilities.
And while inflation is the latest symptom of the pandemic era, many employers are raising salaries to attract candidates and retain them. You might earn a higher salary by switching to advertising now than if you waited another year or two.
Learning What You Need to Know About Advertising?
As with any profession, you’ll learn your most important lessons by doing the work. Still, you’ll need to know some basics to secure and nail the job interview, land the job, and pass the probationary period. You can learn a lot from subscribing to industry newsletters, reading the works of giants in the field, and picking the brains of friends and colleagues who work in the field.
But it’s not only essential to learn about advertising’s history and its current state. To succeed in advertising, you’ll want to have as firm an understanding as possible about its future. Over the past three decades, online technologies have transformed the landscape and will continue to drive how we receive, plan, create, and distribute ads.