The Agency Shift to Client Side: Thinking Like a Client [free full eBook edition within]

Ad executives thought I was nuts for going in the opposite direction when I left American Express to work for Ogilvy & Mather. I decided to leave a place where I owned ideas and evaluated pitches, had greater control of my work schedule, and garnered amazing benefits.

Advertising professionals work anywhere from 60 to 80 hours a week, according to AdAge. A plethora of “creatives” are actually freelancers who lack health care benefits—a trend that is rising, according to a 2012 AMR Salary survey. Plus, agency professionals only win 25% of the pitches they participate in on average, according to Tom Martin, a veteran agency salesman who wrote about ways to pitch using a client’s viewpoint for AdAge.

These three ad-agency happenings are only a handful of reasons why so many advertising executives are disgruntled about working in an agency and idealize working on the client side. However, I left the client side because I knew that to be a better client, I needed to learn about the agency structure and its processes. While that turned out to be true later in my career, my experience on both sides has enabled me to successfully coach clients who wanted to go in both directions (to or from the agency side; to or from a client organization), and I learned that the single best way to land a client role is to think and act like a client.  

Acting like a client requires you to broaden your thinking. Work beyond these presumptions: a) from marketing communications to more ways to impact sales or market-share growth, b) from direct competitors to those who sell to the same client or customer groups, and c) from your own assumptions about what it is like to work on the client side to how clients perceive advertising executives.

***The Reality***

“Take a step back and think about how clients spend their days. They’re probably not immersing themselves in the latest rad stuff on the Internet, nor are they spending a lot of time talking about cool ideas. Instead, they’re worried about their own priorities at their day jobs, like P&L, stock prices and having to deal with both retailers and consumers,” says Benjamin Palmer in an Adweek article entitled “Take a Walk on the Client Side.”

I.                    How to think beyond marketing communications

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Please fill out the form below for your full copy of The Agency Shift to Client Side – Thinking Like a Client.

The e-Book includes specifics around:
-building a business case to prove why you should be hired by a client
-the #1 most common and effective way to approach devising a target company list of prospective client-side employers!
-and so much more that only a former employee of an agency AND client could share


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Melissa Llarena

Melissa helps movers and shakers up to those in the corner office rediscover what makes them unique so that they can land their dream job in a forward-thinking company where their ideas are listened to, valued, and supported.

She brings insights from having worked in 16-business units (including Human Resources) in NY, Paris, and London. Additionally, in her former corporate career, she worked on billion-dollar brands for P&G and on IBM for Ogilvy & Mather. Later, as the founder and CEO of Career Outcomes Matter, Melissa created a 3-step “sellable strengths” process which has been the centerpiece of her clients' results.

Melissa applies this method consistently to support mid-level professionals up to the c-suite to get into Fortune Global 500 organizations and agencies. She studied Psychology at NYU and earned her MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

1 Comment

  1. Nebojsa on November 29, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Good article! The situation is same in Europe. I just went from CMO position at big e-commerce company to CDO position in big agency (one of top 5) more or less for the same reasons

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