Advertising agencies notoriously downsize staff when a client is lost or individuals are not billable, creating anxiety for their employees. In this day and age, the margin pressures on agencies are more heightened than ever, generating an environment where even highly talented employees are vulnerable. This makes many feel exposed to the threat of unemployment and doubts about the ability to attain career success. So, how does one build a sustainable career in digital marketing that can overcome the ups and downs of agency performance? Here are five tips to swear by if you want long-term success, less anxiety, and a sure shot at climbing the agency ladder.
Have deep expertise in your discipline
It is important to build core knowledge and expertise in your discipline so that you are able to perform as a specialist who can go incredibly deep. The world is getting more specialized, requiring "go-to" experts within an agency. This is especially the case in certain aspects of technology where very few people may have the right specific knowledge required to pull off a challenging client project. For instance, a superstar UX expert is not going to be all that vulnerable to a layoff. Very difficult to find, they are the type of experts that decision-makers will invest in beyond temporary ups and downs in revenues.
Agencies are always looking for the best person within a specific space. In some disciplines that require strict expertise, different recruiters from different agencies will come up with the same 10 names of professionals. If you are on that list, your value dictates the interest of agencies to hire and retain you. Those folks who are true superstars at their specialty can always get a job. It is harder to sell yourself if you are too much of a generalist who can't bring something truly special to the table.