To the Team Leaders and Managers working to provide only the best for your clients:
Due to the expansion and technical intricacies of marcom disciplines, you, the generalist, can be more important than ever. That’s because true leadership comes from being able to see the big picture. On the other hand, more than ever, your success depends on the talent, experience and support of your specialists.
The marketing ecology has become so complicated that it is increasingly more dangerous for an account person to answer technical questions without consulting with the appropriate agency specialists.
Compared to the relatively simple advertising world of print and broadcast of a few years ago, our IMC company has specialists in search, SEO, information architecture, analytics, digital development, digital project management, social media and media relations. Imagine what it would take for an account person to converse on all of these subjects at a level that would truly represent the level of the capabilities of this agency! And I didn’t even list the traditional disciplines of strategic planning, concept development, design, writing, media planning/estimating and video, print and digital production.
I’m writing this blog in an effort to help you, Team Leaders and Managers, help your company achieve higher levels of service, while helping you grow and flourish in your own career.
Here are some tips on how to bring our specialists into your client conversations at the right time:
1. When writing important memos to our clients, send the draft to your teammates and appropriate coaches for suggested edits and comments. (I’ve been doing this for years. So I’m really not as smart as some of my emails might suggest :)
2. When you’re with a client and one of the disciplines listed above is being discussed, get the specialist on the phone, turn on the speaker and involve them in the conversation. It will make you and the agency look smart. Plus it will save time and effort on your team’s part.
a. Why wait until you come back to the agency to get an answer?
b. Or why take a chance on answering a client’s question, when often we don’t even know what we don’t know about these ever-changing technical subjects?
c. Note: Your associates usually have their smart phones with them. So the chances of reaching someone on a moment’s notice are better than ever. And if you think a subject may come up at a meeting, alert the specific specialists that you may be calling them. That’ll help make the connection and help them prepare for the conversation.
3. Taking a carload of associates to a client meeting at an average hourly rate of say, $175, and then having a two hour meeting that might involve their discipline for 10 minutes is not a good use of time or the client’s money. And what’s going to happen to the specialists’ one hour of travel time and two hours of a meeting that a client shouldn’t have to and doesn’t want to pay for in exchange for 10 minutes of advice? Using the phone, as I’ve mentioned above, will often solve the problem of trying to arrange meeting times for a gaggle of people and the problem of unbillable time.
4. There are some things that an experienced team leader should be able to give ballpark estimates for if they have enough parameters. But WARNING: It’s getting more and more difficult. And the consequences of an uninformed, inaccurate estimate are:
a. loss of respect from the client
b. loss of respect from your associates
c. loss of time due to the misstep
d. loss of revenue for the agency
e. loss of an account
f. and possibly loss of your job if the mistake is severe enough or if you have a history of this mistake.
So let’s use our online and telephony technologies to collaborate and learn from our specialists.
This will help you use your company’s capabilities at their highest levels in more efficient ways. And by doing this, your clients, all your associates and probably you -- more than anyone else -- will benefit from it.
-Joe Phelps | CEO