What working at a full-service digital agency has taught me.

Written and compiled by Marketing Strategist, Marika Malliaris.

Cyclists fast

Next month will be my two year anniversary working at Saatchi & Saatchi Synergize, one of Africa’s premier digital agencies. I started off as a social media intern, where I got the opportunity to create content and manage communities for some top local clients. At the end of my six month internship, I was fortunate enough to be offered a position with the company. A few months after that, I was offered the opportunity to take on some of the company’s marketing work and eventually took on the role of Marketing Strategist for Synergize.

I feel incredibly fortunate in this position, because I still get to work in social media, but many other aspects of digital within the business too. Having started with no digital experience besides the social media brand building I had done in my radio days, I am amazed at what I have learnt in the space of two years, personally and professionally.

The actual skills

I shudder to think about who I would be without the practical digital marketing skills I have acquired over the last two years, especially living in the mobile and online-driven world of today. Synergize prides itself on training and upskilling its staff, so as a Certified Google Analytics partner with one of the finest SEO and PPC teams in the country, I can honestly say that I have learnt from the best. Having a thorough understanding of what Search is and how it works within all aspects of digital, is one of the most valuable skills I have ever acquired.

Who I am

In school you’re picked on for being different, while in the working world, individuality is generally applauded and even valued in some specialised industries. Agency life gives you the space to flaunt whatever creative skills you have. When being yourself is appreciated, you become confident in who you are.

Having started at Saatchi & Saatchi Synergize armed merely with my social media experience specific to radio, I was given the opportunity to explore my skills and craft a position within the company that allowed me to be better at what I was already good at.


One of the reasons I love radio is that most of the time I am alone in studio and in control of almost everything. Thousands of listeners, but it’s just me and the mic. It’s a completely different experience to the incredibly fast-paced daily office life of a fully integrated digital agency.

Working in an agency can get pretty crazy, and when the pressure hits, true characters flourish. I soon realised that no matter how capable I was at doing my job, having the ability to work in collaboration with everybody in the team is crucial. The various personalities and skills that make up any company are what make it beautiful, and contribute to the unique office culture.

How to say no

This is still something I haven’t perfected yet because the word “no” hardly ever existed in my vocabulary before. At least now I’ve learnt that there are many different ways you can say “no” and that it is often quite necessary.

If you’re familiar with the way that traffic and work flows are managed within an agency, declining briefs and pushing back will save your life. This has taught me to put myself and my work first, and not to feel guilty about it. I also know now that people won’t hate me for saying “no” to them, and that this translates outside of the workplace too.

How to write

Hopefully this has been proved by what you’ve just read.

Writing is a huge passion of mine and I always received top marks in high school for English and composition. Little did I know that in the digital world there was so much more left for me to learn. I was tasked with writing content for SEO, short copy for paid and social media, press releases, blog posts and copy for various other channels. As the foundation of all digital and traditional marketing, understanding content and the strategy behind it will benefit me in whatever I choose to do one day.


All in all, I am definitely better off for the last two years spent working at the heart of a full-service digital agency. We live in a technology-centric world, and it’s happening with or without us. I prefer to be a part of the revolution, whether it be working directly in digital, or just understanding the world I live in.


Twitter: @HeyMixi

Image credits: unsplash.com


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