Ladies and Gentlemen
Of the Marketing & Advertising Industry of 2015;
Listen to your clients.
If I could offer you only one tip for the future,
Listening to your clients would be it.
The long-term benefits of listening to your clients
Have been proven by accountants;
Whereas the rest of my advice has no basis,
More reliable than my own meandering experience.
I will dispense this advice, now.
Trust your instincts and the common sense
Of your youth.
Oh never mind;
You will not understand the value of your instincts
And the common sense of your youth
Until you have been forced to.
But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back
At the industry bullshit that was being spouted
And recall in a way that
You don’t have the confidence to do now,
How right your instincts were
And how ephemeral that latest
‘This Will Change Everything’ channel really was.
You are not as dumb as your agency
Makes you imagine.
Don’t worry about the future;
Or worry, but know that understanding your clients’
Hopes and dreams will stand you in good stead
The real troubles in your career are apt to be people;
The kind that you just can’t believe
Really exist in the workplace.
Do one thing everyday that puts you
In the shoes of your client.
Don’t settle for intellectual mediocrity,
Don’t put up with people who are
Don’t waste your time on office politics;
Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind.
But the rest of the world just could not give a shit.
Remember the value you bring,
Forget about when the planner makes you feel small.
If you succeed in doing this,
Tell your Creative Director how.
Keep daily contact with your clients,
Throw away your SoWs.
Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know
What you want to do with your career.
The most interesting people that I know now,
Knew at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives;
But they became the 40 year olds who don’t.
Drink plenty of alcohol.
Be kind to receptionists;
They know everything and everyone.
Maybe you’ll win a Lion, maybe you won’t;
Maybe you’ll get a bonus, probably you won’t;
Maybe you’ll leave the industry at 40;
Maybe they’ll put you in the
Advertising Hall of Fame on your 75th birthday.
Whatever you do, always remind yourself to
Walk the floors.
You’ll be amazed at just how much you can learn.
And so will everybody else.
Enjoy your creative mind, use it every way you can.
Don’t be afraid of it,
Or scared off by those who are labelled ‘creative’.
It’s the greatest asset you’ll ever own.
Write… even if you find it hard; it forces you to think.
Break bread, even when you’re not hungry.
Do NOT read industry magazines,
They will only give you FOMO.
Get to know your Chairman,
You never know when he’ll be gone for good.
Be nice to your colleagues;
They are the best link to your next job,
And the people most likely to tell stories about you
In the future.
Understand that agencies and accounts come and go,
But for the precious few you should hold on.
Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography,
Invest in your relationships now,
Because the older you get,
The more you’ll be able to help the people you knew when you were young.
Work client-side once,
But leave before it makes you terminally depressed;
Work in an agency once,
But leave before it makes you clinically insane.
Accept certain inalienable truths:
Finance departments will make you fill in forms,
Agencies prefer talking about themselves,
You too will get senior.
And when you do, you’ll fantasise that,
When you were young:
Finance departments were helpful,
Agencies preferred talking about their clients,
And juniors respected their bosses.
Respect your bosses.
Don’t expect anyone else to bring work to you.
Maybe you have a big marketing budget,
Maybe you have a retained account;
But you never know when either one might run out.
You can’t mess enough with the received wisdom
Of an industry that, at 40, already looked 85.
Beware the ‘Next Big Idea’,
And be cautious with those who supply it.
The ‘Next Big Idea’ is often an old, small idea.
Dispensing it is a way of fishing the ‘creative brilliance’
Of the past from the disposal,
Wiping it off,
Photoshopping the other brand’s logos,
And recycling it for more than it’s worth.
But trust me,
On listening to the clients…
Nick Jefferson is a partner with the advisory firm, Monticello LLP.