Is it the Ukraine or just Ukraine? Neither of us knew the answer to this which was strange because Anna is from… the… Ukraine. However, our combined haziness over this subject stood in marked contrast to Anna’s crystal clear vision she had for her career.
Something I haven’t heard too often on my travels around the in-house digital world is sentences like this: “I had been trying to get into ASOS for three or four years before I actually got the job.” This seemed to me like refreshing and focused ambition. Sit back and enjoy as I ask Anna Sokhan from ASOS all about why she made the move in-house, her views on career progression, and what (if anything) she misses about agency life.
Anna identified ASOS as the place she wanted to work by looking at how the company was progressing and evolving. Attracted by the values and digital potential eventually she found a space for herself in the Digital Marketing team as a PPC Manager. Though Anna has made the move in-house, “online fashion retail is a fast-paced industry so there’s always something to challenge you in the day-to-day”. It seems as though Anna has already taken the advice of some of our previous interviewees and she gave some of her own: “move to a company for the industry and values”. She made the further point that in-house teams are normally much smaller so “you have to be self-motivated and ready to shoulder a lot more responsibility for the projects you work on”.
Anna also moved to improve her career progression. “It takes a long time to progress in an agency in terms of the type of work you get to do,” Anna explained. She thinks part of the reason for this is because people tend to job-hop on the agency side so it “takes longer for an agency to trust that you are a dedicated employee” and worth promoting to a senior position where you can have more of a say in the way of strategic account development.
It seemed Anna’s in-house career had got off to a good start. What was her working life like now she was in-house? “It’s great to be immersed in the business. You feel connected to what the company stands for and what it’s trying to achieve.” Sometimes, when working agency side she felt she couldn’t give enough attention to her various client accounts but now Anna is completely embedded in the mechanics and future of her one client, ASOS. She is still technically a PPC specialist but now she gets involved with the wider running of the business which gives her greater job satisfaction. She interacts with more people in-house than agency side and feels like “more of a project developer.” She used to manage accounts and now she manages teams and people.
Was there anything she missed about life in an agency? Before moving in-house a friend had said to her “expect to drink more cups of tea and get more reading done,” but Anna found life was just as fast-paced as at an agency. She had also heard that the average age in-house tends to increase and the social life suffers but again, this had not been true with ASOS which tries to “attract its target audience to work there meaning the company employs a lot of twenty-somethings”. The one thing she misses is the knowledge share element you get at an agency – she now has to work harder to stay up to date with the market. So I suppose her friend was right about the reading part.
Ukraine, the Ukraine, it doesn’t seem to matter; I wouldn’t worry too much about names. What we have learned time and again from our in-house experts is that if you want to make the move from an agency to in-house, make sure their values and outlook are right up your street.