I’ve been in the account game for quite some time now, and I’m going to level with you: getting your first account job at an agency is a matter of contacts, presentation skills, and a lucky break. Agencies largely recruit account coordinators and assistant account executives from three distinct pools: connected or persistent college grads, client progeny, and random applicants who impress us with their wit, moxie, or individuality. If you do — or can — fall into one of these categories, you’ve got a shot at breaking into account management at an agency.
But be warned: there’s some hard truth ahead. Read More →
Creative people are the heart and soul of every good agency. They create art in service to commerce. The rest of us just sell it. That doesn’t, of course, mean that savvy account and strategy people can’t make significant — or even crucial — contributions to the creative process. We certainly can. We just have to do it right.
Ideally, account and planning types support the creative team by finding relevant insights, mining customer data, understanding the customer’s journey from awareness to purchase, and by projecting client business goals and communications sensibilities. Ideally, the support team packages all this up as a springboard for the creative, who then internalize the brief and make the magic.
Real life, however, is messier. The dynamic between your accounts and creative teams might be genial. It might also be tense or even hostile. It all depends on how you manage it. A long career in ad land has taught me a lot about bridging that gap and helping your creatives deliver great work, time after time. Here are four strategies I always come back to. Read More →
A century ago, iconic newspaperman Arthur Brisbane first told readers that a picture is worth a thousand words. Dear old Arthur didn’t know just how right he was. But the folks at Curalate do.
We all know that images are powerful. They have a singular ability to excite and engage. They start conversations. They spark friendships (and sometimes end them.) What we don’t quite know is why. To find out just what kind of images move us most, Curalate — a visual marketing and analytics firm — studied 500,000 Pinterest images to identify the visual elements that drove the most re-pins. Here’s what they learned. Read More →
In the beginning there were web pages. Brands staked their claims on the newly invented World Wide Web. Web 1.0 met basic consumer expectations, namely that every brand would have an 800 number and a web page as points of contact.
Web 2.0 was about finding, developing, and embracing interactive technologies to engage customers, prospects, and other constituencies. It was about Flash, bells and whistles, and keeping up with the Joneses. Having a cool website mattered.
Web 3.0 was about business results. It was a phase of encyclopedic websites. Governance was split between marketing and IT. The Holy Grail was a fully realized, multi-dimensional, interactive relationship between a brand and its customer base. Metrics, rather than showbiz, finally began to be important. Read More →
Big Data is the new black in Adland. Yet in spite of widespread availability of proven data collection, mining, processing, and automation tools, agencies have yet to commit to Big Data as a discipline. So why would rational competitive marketers under-utilize tools that could make them smarter, faster, and richer? Read More →
For those of us in Adland, Mad Men is a persistent reminder that not much has changed in our business over the past sixty years (with the exception of all the illegal and non-PC stuff, of course). Believe it or not, agencies are still run pretty much the way they are depicted on TV. Evidently, the great management and technology revolutions sidestepped Madison Avenue. Read More →
Very few us of are one-dimensional. Most of us have a spectrum of skills and interests which can be ordered, emphasized and monetized in different ways at different times. So far, I’ve had seven careers ranging from educator to government worker to journalist, consultant, publicist, Internet entrepreneur, and ad man. Who knows what will be next?
Job change is personal growth. But change needs to be carefully considered and actively chosen. I use three criteria for assessing new opportunities. Read More →
Long before others turned sales motivation into a slick, multi-channel industry, there was Zig Ziglar. Ziglar, who passed away in November, carried a bag for 25 years before he started talking about it. He was able to draw relatable lessons from real-world experience and deliver them in a memorable and folksy way.
I had the pleasure of working with Zig several times. He was a humble guy who had an incredible way with people and the ability to size up an audience and tell a story like no one else. Unlike so many others, you could remember what Zig said the next day. In a world of blowhards and phonies, Zig was the genuine article. I’ll miss him.
Zig taught me many things. And while, at least on the surface, the lessons were about sales and marketing, I’ve found that they apply to almost every facet of business and life. After all, what is sales if not an exercise in human connection? Read More →
Managing creative people is both the best and the scariest job I’ve ever had. On some days I feel like the luckiest guy on the planet. On other days, I feel like I’ve gone nine rounds with Sybil. To become a decent manager, I read management books, watched what my bosses did (and didn’t do), and tried to figure out how I’d like to be managed.
The common thread here is that people want to know what’s going on and where they stand. Most people want to contribute to a team and feel like they’re doing something useful, if not important. Usually people want to like their bosses and be liked by them in return, even though it doesn’t always work out that way.
This led me to write down my learnings as an operating guide for me. I share it with all my team members because it has more lasting value as a document than as a conversation. Most of those I’ve worked with will tell you that I’m about the straightest shooter they’ve ever met. I mean what I say and I’m consistent over time. I hope this can help you get in touch with your inner manager and make your working life easier and happier. Read More →