This week I managed to grab 10 minutes with Ercan Kamil, Head of Search at MoneySupermarket, one of the UK’s top performing dotcoms. We discussed initial perceptions and the reality on moving from one of the leading media agencies PHD to MoneySupermarket… hopefully dispelling some myths along the way.
The Elephants Graveyard
“You hear from people that working in-house is slow and boring compared to agency side – the joke is that you move in-house when you’re ready to retire.”
In Ercan’s opinion, a lot of this comes down to the culture of the company and this comes down to the nature of the company and where the office is based “We’re a digitally-driven business who run everything in-house and we’re based in Central London so the culture and feel is very similar to an agency,” he explains – “Perhaps it’d be different if we were outside of London.”
The spice of life
Working agency-side, Ercan enjoyed variety- juggling multiple clients across multiple sectors and no two days felt the same. Can this be replicated client side?
“That’s something I was conscious of before I joined” reflects Ercan, “But Moneysupermarket has multiple verticals, multiple products and run multi-channel acquisition marketing so it’s actually quite varied here.”
It’s worth noting at this point that Moneysupermarket is very performance-driven and is a very savvy business. The set up at MSM is pretty hands-on and favours people who like to roll their sleeves up.
I asked Ercan whether he misses the social part of agency life. “A large number of people at media agencies are under the age of 30 and socialising is a big part of agency life – it’s one of the perks” he begins; “It is different here but we’re a big team and still enjoy a night out – the people here are a little older and many have young families so the priorities are different.”
Moving on up
Agencies can provide unrivalled opportunity for progression, but can this happen in-house?
“Yes and no” answers Ercan. “It’s a fairly flat structure and staff turnover is lower here so one hand that limits the number of roles open. It means that there’s more focus on training and developing staff so progression and promotion feels less contrived and more natural.” After all, you have to invest to keep the best.
Ahead of the curve
There’s a perception that you risk stagnating if you’re not in the cut-and-thrust of an agency environment – is this the case?
“We’re a big spender and we get a lot of attention from suppliers and vendors, so I’m not sure that applies to us. I guess it depends on what sort of company you join.”
Companies with smaller digital spends may not get the same level of investment from suppliers, but if your spend’s up there with MoneySupermarket’s, you may just get them before the agencies!
Knowing the right questions to ask makes the move in-house easier, next week Neil will be exploring the right ones to ask to help make the right move first time.