Today's Guest Pro, Lauren Lemke, Account Supervisor at Bailey Lauerman, came to us via Elyse, our guest on Episode 13 of the podcast. After 5+ years in Marketing and Sales, Lauren recently jumped over to the agency world and wanted to share a few things she learned from her career shift. For anyone making the leap—whether from marketing, school, or another industry entirely—this one's for you. Here's Lauren.
So you’ve decided to go for it. Whether you’ve been working in a marketing position, or just starting off and decided that you want to give the agency world a whirl, it’s here. Looking back, there are definitely things that I wish someone would have told me about starting off in this wonderful world of creative agencies, especially with no background. I didn’t do an agency internship, had a background of marketing and sales, and was making a career leap. Here are the top 3 things I learned from jumping headfirst into my first agency job from the outside.
1) Throw away your preconceived notions.
There are a lot of misconceptions out there, from the Don Draper way of presenting one board, one headline, and your job is done, to movies about cutthroat interns sabotaging each other’s work. The best thing you can do is toss all of those thoughts out the window. For one, these agencies are businesses at the core. They still have procedures, policies, HR departments, and rules, even if they may be more lenient than the corporate world. In order to make a great start in an agency, clear your mind of anything pop culture has taught you about what happens within the creative walls. The blanker your slate, the more open you’ll be to the industry as a whole.
2) Take time to learn the process.
The creative flow, the process, how we get it done. Whatever your agency decides to call it, it’s a whirlwind. It’s not linear, and it often resembles the playing board of CandyLand by the time you’re done. Learning the flow of how creatives, project managers, account strategists, account directors, and C-suite level all work together is usually far from any other structure in business. Give yourself time to learn this process, and pay special attention to how your role fits in. The best thing I did was sit down with each team and learned how they wanted to affect success in the creative process. Learning individual perspectives was key in understanding how I would fit in and make impact on a project.
3) Sharpen your sales skills.
When you join an agency, you are automatically in the customer service business. Whether you are a junior designer, account planner, or in project management, you're selling your ideas every day. The industry depends on new ideas, new concepts, and innovation to keep the creative world moving, and your job is to get those ideas in the funnel. Being in account service, I’ve learned that unless I can sell a creative thought not only to my team, but also to the client, it’s dead in its tracks. Learn to speak up for your ideas early on, and if you believe in it, sell it!
Now get out there and make an impact,