During my recent job search (not to imply the search is over), I decided I needed to "widen the net" so to speak and expand the list of the types of companies to which I would apply. The reasoning behind this decision was to enable (hopefully) myself to get into a different type of work environment and gain new and different skills. The agency situation is tenuous. Automotive is tenuous. I'm looking at a double whammy…and the potential for huge obsolescence in the near future…if I don't get into something less tenuous. Sure I can keep riding this horse…but, it is starting to stumble a little in the gallop and the race has a ways to go yet.
A friend has suggested this line of thought for years. I politely ignored him. Why fix what ain't broke was always my thought. He left automotive and is doing very well. He's no jamoke. I respect him.
So, I researched and investigated and put together what I thought was (foreshadowing, yes I know…) a pretty good list of innovative and interesting companies for which I would like to work. These were interactive agencies. These companies develop cool and exciting New Media Campaigns for progressive clients. (Old media is your stodgy old TV, radio, and print advertising. New Media is all the cool stuff that showed up ten minutes ago and has NOT been proven to work yet…but I digress.) New Media is the future…I need to get it on my resume.
But, alas, I didn't get a single response to any of my applications to these interactive agencies. I didn't get a call. I didn't get an email. I got nothing that would imply these agencies understand the two way nature of communication. Why have an online job application process if you don't intend to respond? I know, rhetorical…
Anyway…not getting a response is not the interesting part, though.
Agency #1 is one of the top ten interactive agencies in the country. They have Fortune 500 clients. They have a very well designed company website. On it they state they help clients develop strategies, marketing promotions, business to consumer advertising, relationship management, and marketing intelligence. Pretty standard gobbledlygook.
Agency#2 is also one of the top ten interactive agencies in the country. They have Fortune 500 clients. They have a very well designed company website. On it they state they help clients develop strategies, marketing promotions, business to consumer advertising, relationship management, and marketing intelligence. Pretty standard gobbledlygook.
Yes…it's exactly the same. Remember this post – Agency Jamokes? The goobledlygook of that video was pulled directly from agency websites.
Part One of why this is interesting is that agencies…ALL agencies…do exactly the same thing for their clients. Regardless of their emphasis on Old Media or New Media, the services provided are the same. Here's why – A Brilliant Ad Exec goes to a client and sells them on running a gazillion dollars of television advertising…maybe during the stuporbole…complete with the latest schloky humor and pop sensation music soundtrack. The client accepts the proposal from said Ad Exec. But, Ad Exec does not call the TV stations to place the buy. The media specialists do that. And, Ad Exec does not plan or write the over-budget Cecil B. DeMille -esque commercial masterpiece. The creative specialists do that. No, the Ad Exec is the one that makes sure the client stays happy…the bills get paid…the employees get paid…and no laws were broken. The Ad Exec keeps it all together.
Interactive Agencies, however, seem to have a mindset that to sell a web campaign to a client, one must have been a coder. One must have Mountain Dew coursing through the veins. One must be wise to the ways of WoW. One must be a member. There's a secret handshake. Instead of having an Ad Exec (Guy In Suit) go sell to the client and then entrust the work to the coders, the interactive agency expects the coder (who doesn't own a suit) to also be the salesperson.
Here's the language of the job requirements for a specific Non-Coder position as advertised on Monster by Agency#1:
Candidate should possess:
- Strong background in interactive work including strategic direction of all interactive programs including: web site development, email, database and online advertising.
- Background in an agency environment or history of working with advertising agencies.
- Track record of building successful client relationships.
- Experience in leading, managing and growing direct reports as well as a team oriented attitude in servicing clients.
- Strong written and verbal communication skills
- Ability to work independently and act as a conduit between the Business Development team and the execution team.
There it is at the top of the list. "Strong Background in interactive work." I guarantee that an Old Media agency does not list as a requirement the need for a "Strong Background in TV work" on their job listings. Why? Because, it isn't necessary. In my opinion, knowledge is transferrable…the understanding of old media and new media can quickly be obtained. What IS difficult to teach and learn, though, is the ability to stand in front of a client and maintain the relationship…through every possible scenario…and without flinching. It is difficult to learn how to sell.
The second part of why this is interesting is that these two interactive agencies have pharmaceuticals, travel, financial institutions, and casinos as clients. They list their clients on their snazzy websites.
Guess how many spam comments this website gets everyday. Because it is a site rich in a very wide variety of key words, The Jamoker site is a prime target for the very types of innovative online campaigns these models of New Media thought produce every day. You name it…I get spam for it. Xanax, Levitra, Prilosec, Cialis, Viagra, Refinancing, Credit Card Consolidation, FICO Scores, Weight Loss, Online Gambling…
Now, I don't mean to imply that the same clients and/or interactive agencies of which I spoke about above are responsible for the spam I get to this site. That would be irresponsible since I don't know for sure.
But, I do mean to imply that somewhere there are innovative and progressive interactive agencies that are producing New Media Advertising and Marketing Campaigns for some pretty sleazy clients.
Maybe the line between Old Media and New Media is not so well defined.