30 April 2013

Learning Never Stops

Yesterday was the first of three days I’m devoting to helping train account management people at our agency.  Three days?  Yes, it’s that important.  Especially after I opined loudly on the subject back in November.

Two instructors present material and we apply it in a series of mock meetings where some senior account people, including me, pretend to be clients, and the account people portray themselves.

Today’s curriculum, starting in the right place with something foundational, focused on what the instructors called Immersion (doing your homework) and Discovery (having done it well enough to ask smart questions).

Learning Is Day-to-Day

An important point made in the classroom was that both Immersion and Discovery are ongoing.  We talked about them first, not because they are the first stages in a process, but because you can only do your job well if you do them first – and continually.

In other words, you have to learn, and keep learning, your client’s business.  Not just the facts and figures on your own dashboard but the overall industry in which the client competes, the state of their business overall, and of course their marketing.

To learn the client’s business, however, you also have to learn your client; to establish a relationship with them based on your genuine commitment to their business success.  That relationship permits you to keep learning.

Advertising has so many new specialties and disciplines that we've written often about specialists and generalists.  None of that tradecraft matters, however, if you lack an understanding of what the client needs from you.

Learning Is Year-to-Year

Do the above lessons sound basic or obvious?  If so, it doesn’t make them wrong.  In fact it makes them all the more important.  I don’t mind admitting that I gained a lot from reviewing them in my role as a trainer.

Learning never stops.  Reviewing the basics always helps me refresh what I do instinctively, and thus do it better.

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