Decoding the Path into a Digital Agency

Steep learning curve

I joined Noble Studios with a traditional advertising and marketing agency background. I knew how to work with clients, stay within a budget, build timelines, write briefs, strategize new ideas, and drink beer in the office on Fridays, but I did not know the digital language. My first few weeks at Noble Studios, I built myself a glossary of terms and did my homework. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Now I am well beyond the 10-mile mark.

But believe me, when I first heard, “Within Drupal we will add a theme code and then add the G module,” I broke out in a nervous laugh and visible sweat. I felt like my co-worker was trying to explain how to launch a space shuttle and I was starring in an episode of The Big Bang Theory.

Humble pie with a sprinkle of research on top

A person must have the desire to know the digital world and speak the language, or they will never survive in the tech trenches. Ignition Consulting Group estimates only 20% of established agencies have fully and successfully made the transition from traditional to digital. This educated guess gives you an idea of how challenging the leap can be.

Common challenges transitioning from traditional to digital

  1. Moving out of your comfort zone
  2. Clients ask for more metrics and ROI
  3. Stronger need for specialists in various digital disciplines
  4. Staying ahead of the digital learning curve and new trends
  5. More ways to connect with target audiences and key influencers

How to prepare for a digital gig

  1. Become certified in Google AdWords and Google Analytics
  2.  Setup a coffee meeting with the technical or strategic services lead and pick their brain
  3. Visit websites of digital firms you admire and study their work
  4. Know the definition of the following terms:
    •    Content management system (CMS)
    •    Front-end development
    •    Server-side development
    •    Responsive design
    •    Search engine optimization (SEO)
    •    Search engine marketing (SEM)
    •    Crawling a website

Stay fresh

If you’re already a tech lord or a digital goddess, great. Stay current. This industry is constantly changing and you must stay well-informed of the latest trends and platforms. If you are newer to the digital world, or are a client who wants to understand more about the work, here are a few websites that will help you get down with digital:

If you want to work at a digital agency, but have limited experience – be honest and start making moves. Stay informed and do your homework. Tip: If you send a GIF with your resume, you might have a better chance they’ll write you back. Techies love GIFs!