Free: Assessment Does your website build trust with buyers and bring in revenue?

Score My Website

Free: Assessment

Does your website build trust with buyers and bring in revenue?
Take this free 6 question assessment and learn how your website can start living up to its potential.
Score My Website
Nick Vendetta

By Nick Vendetta

Mar 2, 2018


Web Design
Web Design

Ad vs Inbound Agency: How The Shift Made Me a Better Web Developer

Nick Vendetta

By Nick Vendetta

Mar 2, 2018

Ad vs Inbound Agency: How The Shift Made Me a Better Web Developer

Back in early 2013, I landed my first web development gig at a small advertising/creative agency.

They do great work with pretty big names such as Hard Rock and Virgin, and when I was there they did a lot of campaigns promoting new TV specials and even hotels.

Needless to say, I was loving it and impressed, ( - and did I mention they had a keg in the office?!)

Even with all the good, I ran into some workflow issues, but I just chalked it up to me being a newbie to the game.

However, knowing what I know now, and being familiar with the Scrum framework, I realize it wasn’t just me. There was a problem with the system.

Now, I’m not going to go on and on in this post bashing my former employer. They are extremely talented and I have much respect for them (and that just wouldn’t be cool anyway).

They just did things differently and it was a huge learning experience.

Working for an agency is very different from working as an in-house developer for a company, in my opinion, at least.

In-house developers tend to have more cushion for experimenting, and just more time to deliver.

Working in an ad or marketing agency environment, you work for the clients who know what they want and expect you to deliver products or results on deadlines.

It’s a fast-paced environment and I’ve grown to love it -- but not all agencies are alike.

In the past three years, I’ve learned a lot as a developer, how I work best, and the differences between developing at an advertising agency and at an inbound agency like IMPACT.

A Whole New Developing World

A few years after leaving the agency, I decided to try my hand at something new in Inbound Marketing and HubSpot.

I was completely new to the Inbound world, but I figured it would be a great learning experience and help me grow as a developer.

After a couple position changes and freelancing for a bit, I was presented with an opportunity to come to IMPACT and I couldn’t pass it up.

During my onboarding time, I started thinking about how different this life was compared to the developer life I had back when I first started. Here are some of the biggest differences (and benefits) I’ve seen.

Workflow & Collaboration

One of the biggest differences and advantages to my workflow now is using Scrum.

With Scrum, we are broken up into teams or pods as IMPACT likes to call them and every pod has a few account strategists, a designer, and developer.

This is super helpful when it comes to keeping things organized and streamlined. I work more closely with our pod’s designer than I have previously and with that, I am able to learn her techniques and style.

By knowing how she designs, I’ve been able to learn her expectations for functionality and structure, which speeds things up. Another benefit is if I need anything, like a new asset or an SVG, I can go right to her and see if she can help me out.

With the ad agency, we never worked closely with the designers, and they were even on a separate floor. So, frequently, I would just get a design from our project manager, and basically “dig in.”

If I had any questions on design or functionality, I would basically need to track down who designed it.

With this type of workflow, it was more prone to miscommunication between designers and developers or developers and clients.

When you’re a developer and you’re handed a design, you could interpret it any way you want, and if you don’t work with the same designer, you may not be as familiar with their workflow or design language, which leads to back and forth for approval and to get the build correct.

You’ll find yourself talking with the designer on functionality or assets when you could be developing. It really takes its toll on efficiency.

Project Management & Processes

The other problem was project management.

The old system I used to work with was with just a glorified spreadsheet that had our task in one column and the hours allocated to it in another.

No descriptions, no area for assets, or information of the designers, and the process of getting a project over the finish line was slowed down by a lot of back-and-forth between the developer, designer, and strategist.

Looking back on it, it was very much like the Wild West.

There was never a set of tools we had to use for programming, it was more of what the certain developer felt more comfortable with or wanted to try.

Over the last three years, I’ve using all types of methods to develop. It was also great to have the exposure, but it was a little chaotic at times.

There were some developers using angular and react, some were using Markup or Twig.

For the PHP side of things, we had Cake projects and some Laravel builds, and as far as automation tools went, there was the age-old argument between Grunt vs Gulp.

Oh! And we even had some older sites built in Flash!


Yes, we managed, but as you can tell it wasn’t very efficient, and always had the concern of what happens if somebody is out for the week on vacation or if somebody decides to leave.

When you combine programming languages, workflows, or tools you are not 100% familiar with and the fast-paced world of an agency, you get late nights, you get frustrating spans of work, you get shoddy work.

Yes, it’s a learning experience, but you are on a timeline to get these products out and at that point, it can can get discouraging. This can lead to burnout, which is the kryptonite to creative agencies.

At IMPACT, we use Jira and our workflow is much more streamlined and effective.

Jira is basically a project management platform that uses cards to organize and plan campaigns/projects. Every card is a task to be done, where the strategists can link assets, give descriptions, and note priority.

We also all work on the same framework. It helps keep things more cohesive and avoid a lot of the headaches that came with multiple languages at the ad agency.

Culture & Work Environment

Now, let’s talk about culture and work environment -- because that’s the fun part!

Both IMPACT and the ad agency pride themselves in culture, and a tight-knit team that worked well together inside work and outside work -- But, IMPACT found the secret ingredient.


The key to obtaining and keeping hard-working, dedicated, passionate team members is to treat them as equals, with respect. Not just respect as individuals; I’m talking respect for your hard work and passion.

It’s quite different…

When you don’t feel respected at your job, it’s easy to lose sight of the end goal. You tend to do the work with a different mindset, just doing it because you’re told to do it, but when you feel valued, or you’re treated like part of an important team, things change.

You feel excited to actually work. You get inspired by the end result and what it brings for the client, and because at IMPACT, I actually talk to the clients and get to know them (where at the ad agency, I didn’t) I care more about how they feel of the end results and I work harder to meet their expectations.


To top it off, IMPACT is super transparent with its team; discussing their finances, plans, and goals.

When you are noticed for your work, time, and dedication, and they let you in behind the curtain of the company, you strive for the company and you work your ass off even more.

Working Remote

But it’s not just working hard, it’s playing hard too.

The team gets together every quarter for a week of working side-by-side, nights out, and later in the year, a kick-ass holiday party.

But wait, what do I mean we “get together?”

Well a portion of the team, including myself, works remote, which is another benefit in my opinion.

With the Ad agency, working from home was just not allowed. While it’s great to work in an office, be around your coworkers, and bond, in my opinion, I’m more productive working from home -- and IMPACT lets me have that flexibility.

IMPACT recognizes that not everyone does their best work under the same circumstances. Working from home is not about being lazy, or working in your PJs (though that’s an added bonus), it’s about being more productive and being respected and trusted that you’re getting your work done. It ties in with being respected and being given autonomy.

Again, when I’m given the flexibility to do my best work, I’m able to pass that efficiency and improvement on to my team and the client.

Key Takeaway

I know not every company is the same, nor do I expect them to operate similarly.

Some companies may not need or want to operate so transparently or collaboratively. It’s just nice to look back on it and see how things have progressed in my industry or even my career.

I do value my time at the ad agency, it has helped me grow as a developer, and has given me experience and perspective, but working at IMPACT has also been a great learning experience and I love the flexibility that comes with it.

Having the option of working from home, working in a close team, and being respected and trusted in my role provides me the passion and drive that keeps me going and thriving to be a better developer.

Free: Assessment

Does your website build trust with buyers and bring in revenue?
Take this free 6 question assessment and learn how your website can start living up to its potential.

Related Articles

Can I Use AI Tools To Build My New Website?

September 18, 2023
Vin Gaeta Vin Gaeta

What Is a 'Learning Center' and Why Does My Website Need One?

September 14, 2023
John Becker John Becker

How Much Does a Website Redesign Cost in 2023?

July 20, 2023
Vin Gaeta Vin Gaeta

Do You Need a New Website? Maybe Not

July 19, 2023
Vin Gaeta Vin Gaeta

14 Award-Winning Website Designs (& What They Did Right)

July 17, 2023
Christine Austin Christine Austin

What a New Self-Selection Tool for Your Website Will Cost

July 13, 2023
John Becker John Becker

9 Self-Selection Tools to Inspire Your Business Website

July 10, 2023
John Becker John Becker

Website Conversions in 2023 — STOP, START, KEEP

January 25, 2023
Vin Gaeta Vin Gaeta

8 of the Best Business Website Designs to Inspire You in 2023

November 17, 2022
Ramona Sukhraj Ramona Sukhraj

What Does a Great Inbound Marketing Website Look Like in 2023?

November 14, 2022
Ramona Sukhraj Ramona Sukhraj

Your 2023 Website Strategy Must Include These 6 Things

November 4, 2022
Mary Brown Mary Brown

4 Ways To Recession-proof Your Website In 2023

November 1, 2022
Marcus Sheridan Marcus Sheridan

Website Mastery: A better redesign process for your business website

November 1, 2022
John Becker John Becker

8 Best Content Management Systems for Digital Marketing in 2023

October 1, 2022
Ramona Sukhraj Ramona Sukhraj

12 Essential Tips for Improving Your Web Design in 2023

September 13, 2022
Christine Austin Christine Austin

23 of the Best Examples of Business Blog Design

May 30, 2022
Christine Austin Christine Austin

5 Prep Secrets for a Smoother, More Successful Website Project Plan (+ Infographic)

May 16, 2022
John Becker John Becker

Website Redesign Checklist: The 12 Crucial Steps You Need To Be Successful

February 22, 2022
Joe Rinaldi Joe Rinaldi

11 Pricing Page Examples for Business Websites (Updated for 2023)

January 18, 2022
Liz Murphy Liz Murphy

8 Crucial Elements Every Homepage Design Should Have

January 15, 2022
Ramona Sukhraj Ramona Sukhraj

What Makes a Good Website Design? 7 Award-Winning Examples To Be Inspired By

December 18, 2021
Kimberly Marshall Kimberly Marshall

Google Shares New Tools to Audit Website User Experience

August 12, 2021
Paul D. Grant Paul D. Grant

New HubSpot CMS Hub Starter Tier Released for Growing Businesses

August 6, 2021
Paul D. Grant Paul D. Grant

Too many internal links in content can confuse Google about site structure

July 9, 2021
Liz Murphy Liz Murphy

Google July 2021 core update rolling out over next 2 weeks

July 2, 2021
Liz Murphy Liz Murphy