June 23, 2017

By Eric Prado, Founder of fireflyhigh & Professional Training & Coaching Consultant.

Marketing in a digital world has created an advertising organism that is living, breathing and continuously changing.

Traditional agencies have worked hard to get up to speed on digital. Digital agencies have worked hard to get up to speed on branding. The industry is now filled with amazing expertise that can virtually build anything we can dream up. Fifteen years ago, a print ad would take months to be developed. We are now producing and publishing content in minutes. In the case of rules-based dynamic platforms, ad units are instantly producing themselves to be customized at the individual user level.

Although we have become more digital savvy, we seem to have left our soft skills behind. As a person who truly loves advertising and the industry, I share these observations to shake us from the complacency of what I am seeing too much of today:

  •     Well-orchestrated meetings are few and far between. Most day-to-day meetings are riddled with issues that could be prevented if proper preparation is done: missing call-in numbers, attendees walking in late, too many people in the room, not the right people in the room, lack of a clear agenda and outcome. In the need to move fast, we are actually moving slower as many teams are often in constant triage mode putting proper preparation aside.
  •     Moving and inspiring presentations that galvanize a team are not happening. There is so much data and information at our fingertips that we are just passing it back and forth. In just sharing it, we are not taking the time to understand what story the data is telling us. In return, we are not telling compelling stories that help inspire or sell in our thinking and ideas.
  •     We struggle to provide proper feedback. “I don’t like it” “I don’t get it.” “It just doesn’t seem on brand.” “Keep going.” These statements have replaced articulate and well-thought out feedback. There is little effort taken to identify and then communicate feedback and direction. By not providing proper feedback, teams find it harder to come up with solutions to address vague feedback.
  •     Job expectations and career goals are not set. Little is being done to help employees understand what the true expectations for their jobs are. Meanwhile, everyone is always thinking about the next promotion and asking for it. Although the drive is admirable, the proper steps are not being taken to define career goals, beyond “I want a promotion,” and action plans to achieve them.

Although I am seemingly painting a grim picture, the work developed by agencies continues to amaze me every day. However, as an industry, we need to properly train our agency teams to get back to the soft skills that are critical for a customer-obsessed industry. When we once again apply the soft skills we left behind during the digital transformation, we will provide more fulfilling experiences to agency teams, retain top talent and have happier clients who will experience a higher caliber of service.




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