Agency Life: What it Takes to be a Great Media Person

By: Liz Wood

Everyone has that one coworker (let’s call him Joe) who sulks into work at 9, clocks out at 5 and complains that the coffee in the kitchen is crap. This is usually the same person who thinks client requests – deck revisions, budget reallocations, same day reporting, new tech POVs, you name it – are unreasonable, every time. Joe’s talented, but he just doesn’t love coming to work on the reg. And sure, everyone has their off days, but people like Joe won’t last forever...and here’s why.

Media careers in the agency world aren’t exactly a breeze. Some may say it’s a cutthroat gig. Especially when you’re green and just starting out, it’s difficult convincing yourself you’ve made the right move when your salary barely pays the bills, and you’re at the office late every night.

I remember working at a trendy, up-and-coming shop in San Francisco early in my career where dogs ran around (my pod neighbor was a bulldog named Spike), music was always playing, movie posters comically edited by the creative team were posted on the walls and exposed brick was illuminated by huge chandeliers...only to dim as the sun went down, and we – the media team – were stuck at the office trafficking tags until midnight. Not surprisingly, that wasn’t a rare occurrence. Although the adrenaline at the office kept me excited and curious, I was always tired and, quite frankly, I felt inadequate and sub-par.

I don’t recall a time, a place or a situation that “flipped my switch,” but ultimately my outlook on media, my career and my future all changed. I started to network to meet people like me, to ask questions, to read articles, to anticipate requests before they were answered and to understand what it would take to achieve a higher title. My boss stopped holding my hand and allowed me to find confidence in what I previously believed I was not capable of achieving.

Coworkers began coming to me for solutions, for answers and for support. Particularly within digital – a faction of media that has been growing rapidly in the past decade or so – I knew I had to keep up if I wanted to stay competitive. This meant late nights without complaint, taking constructive feedback with grace, finding the confidence to speak up in rooms of execs, teaching myself pivot tables, v-lookups and keyboard shortcuts in Excel and dedicating time to learn from my superiors/mentors. But, above all, I learned to love what I do. I was good at it, I had the gumption and I wanted to excel. Hurdles no longer seemed burdensome – they were opportunities.

So, what does make a great media person? What keeps them coming in early and leaving late, voluntarily, knowing that advertising is taking years off their life? That’s a slight exaggeration but you get it. The answer? Free booze and swag! I’m kidding. What really makes a media person great is their ability to embrace the chaos, to multi-task like a champ, to ask questions, to challenge strategy, to negotiate with authority (but also know when not to), to build trust with clients, to write emails with authority and tact, to see opportunities, to think critically and strategically, to be a leader to your team, to find pride in your work and to understand how the work inside the walls of an agency affects the world outside.

The media team at IMM isn’t just good, we’re great. We’re experts at digital media. We challenge the status quo. We always look to improve process and efficiencies. We are trusted stewards of our clients’ dollars and track ROI with a fine-tooth comb. We are humble; we know there’s more to know and always strive to stay ahead of the curve. And at the end of the day, we may not be perfect but we’re pretty darn great at what we do – driving sales overnight to build brands over time. 

About Ideas Made Measurable!

At IMM, creating action isn’t just what we do — it’s who we are. Our agency is built to deliver full service capabilities while also delivering measurable results. Big data is the marketing buzzword everyone talks about but few understand. We are here to explain in plain English how data-driven, bottoms-up marketing strategies can help generate leads, drive sales and build your brand. We leverage the expertise of the staff at IMM, a data-driven, full-service digital advertising agency based in Boulder, Colorado.

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