What separates advertising’s rock stars from its chair warmers? And what does it take to get to the next level? Over the past few weeks, we’ve been asking marketers who’ve made their mark their thoughts on getting ahead.
Today, Grip Partner, President Harvey Carroll weighs in:
1) True or false: results trump all reasonable shortcomings?
False. Results are incredibly important and no one likes to win more than me. That being said, it is important to win the right way, with integrity and through consistent solid performance. You can take short-cuts to deliver results in the short-term but eventually, it will catch up with you.
2) What’s the secret to presenting well?
Remember that, if you are well prepared, no one in the audience knows your material as well as you do. Be confident in what you are presenting. Show passion and enthusiasm and you will be able to bring the audience along with you on the journey. It also helps to have a well constructed story to share with a beginning, middle and end, versus just a series of slides.
3) How important are “sales” tactics in how we present work to clients?
The best way to “sell” work to clients is to listen. Of course, you need to believe in the work you are presenting and display your enthusiasm for the ideas. However, if you really listened well in the briefing and what you are presenting answers what the client asked for in a creative and powerful way, the work should really do the heavy-lifting on the selling. A well-presented, off-strategy campaign should not make it through approval, even if sold with the trickiest of tactics.
4) What’s a common mistake agency folks make when dealing with clients?
Thinking that the agency and the client are on “different sides” and that one has to win in the creative presentation. Client and agency relationships can get strained but in the end you need to trust one another and truly believe that you both want the same thing: great work. If the agency goes into a meeting looking to “sell the client” something, versus presenting something that is a win for both sides, that is a mistake.
5) How important is schmoozing?
On my expense report, I like to call it networking or relationship building, and it does play a role in the business for sure. This is a relationship business and it is important to build trust, respect and confidence in your capabilities with your clients or prospective clients. Make sure though that when you are networking (or schmoozing) that you are listening as much as or more than you are selling. You can learn a lot about a client’s business outside of the boardroom if you really pay attention.
6) How much effort should someone put toward intangible cultural contributions to an agency?
One thing I have been amazed by during my time at Grip is how important the unique culture of the agency is and how much effort it takes to keep it as positive as it is. There are a number of people at Grip who take it upon themselves to really build and support the culture in a number of ways (the blog, project mentor – our learning and development program, engagement surveys etc.). All these people do this because they are passionate about it and they do it above and beyond their day-to-day jobs. These efforts have a huge impact on the agency. Everyone is busy but if you find time to make contributions like this to the culture of your agency, they will pay dividends for years to come.
7) If advertising is a young person’s game, any tips for managing a successful career into your golden years?
I would be interested to understand what you consider “your golden years.” I turn 40 this year and would like to think I am not quite there yet. I don’t think the issue is how old you are, it is how relevant and connected you are. If you allow yourself to fall behind on the current thinking, lose touch with the consumer, or to lose your passion for the business, then perhaps your time has passed. This is true in a number of businesses, not just advertising. I don’t for a second believe this has to happen. You don’t suddenly hit a certain age and become irrelevant in this business. Right???
8) What book should everyone read that’ll help them understand our industry’s big picture?
To be honest, I prefer to read more general business books than “advertising” books. I am fascinated by the art of business and by how successful companies are built and fascinated by the people who have been able to build them. I think everyone in business should read Good to Great by Jim Collins and Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan.
9) How can we be better mentors?
A big part about being an effective mentor is simply finding the time to start the process of helping someone and then to follow through with your commitment to invest your time in their success. I find mentoring, be it in an “official” capacity or on an ad hoc basis, very rewarding for both the mentor and mentee. Finding time to give back and help out, especially people looking to start out in the industry, is something I believe we should all feel compelled to do. Did someone help you get started in this business? Probably.
10) Any tips for “managing up”?
While I always believe the best approach is to let your work and results speak for themselves, there are times when you need to manage up. I don’t think this is a bad thing if it is done in a genuine way. Be clear on your expectations of your boss and make sure you are clear on their expectations of you. Candid conversations go a long way. Set objective goals together, work towards them, and always do what you say you will. It is the easiest thing in the world to do, deliver on what you commit to, but often, it just does not happen. Then you end up managing up in a negative way.
11) True or false: the more integrated you are, the better positioned you are for success?
True. While “integrated” is perhaps the most overused term in advertising, after viral (as in, “I want to make something viral for the web”), I do believe that agencies that are “integrated” are best suited to deliver on client’s needs. For me integration is the notion that you start with the big idea and then push it out and extend it into the most appropriate media. You push the idea in the direction that makes the most sense for the consumer, and therefore the client, not the direction that makes the most sense for the agency. Grip does this by having one P&L across the entire agency. If you are measuring or compensating people for keeping the client’s spend in their vertical (traditional versus digital, for example) then you are not ever really going to be “integrated.”
For more thoughts on this topic, check out Part 1 of this series, or our four-part How to get a job in advertising series.