As this blog is all about giving people a better understanding of the marketing industry, I will be interviewing a series of people who are far more knowledgable than me about what they do and anything else that comes to mind.
This interview is with Nigel Palmer,
Head of Account Management at Agency Republic (NIgel is no longer with Republic, he is Business Director at Saatchi and Saatchi. We talked about account management (which is one of the jobs most grads end up doing when they start), digital and what the future holds for digital agencies. Enjoy, and let me know whether you agree, or what you think.
So, Nigel, what is account management all about? What does it mean?
Account people, or 'suits' as they are affectionately known are the client's advocate within the agency and the agency's advocate with the client. You have to represent the client's best interests to the agency, and vice versa.
And what is the difference between above and below the line?
There is a common myth that there is a huge difference between above and below the line. IN reality the rule of communications is the same and it is:
Who is the communication targeted at?
What is it trying to achieve?
The analysis for a TV ad, a viral piece of digital, a mobile campaign, is all the same. The discipline is the same - only the technicalities and execution differ.
A better way to divide up the industry is between broadcast and relationship.
Broadcast is made up of TV, radio, print, outdoor - essentially passive media.
Relationship focused channels are less passive, and aimed at establishing meaningful relationships with consumers. Such channels are DM, digital, brand experience, sales promotion.
Now digital actually sits across both broadcast and relationship - there is out and out broadcast advertising online (banner ads) but also the internet is the most powerful relationship building tool in the world.
As someone who has worked in account management in digital advertising for a number of years, can you tell me your views on the digital advertising industry?
One of the most major questions is how long will digital be solely the preserve of specialists? Above the line agencies (i.e. traditional TV, print and outdoor ad agencies) are now starting to invest in digital.
The next generation of people growing up will not consider digital to be an extra channel, like TV, radio or mobile because it will all be the same thing, it will all be converged onto one platform and won't get split out as it does at the moment.
if you accept that in the near future TV, mobile and internet will be converged onto one platform, and if you also accept that agencies should mimic what is going on in society, you have to ask yourself when will agencies begin to mimic the convergence that is happening in the real world.
Arguably digital agencies are at the peak of their 'independent' period - we are approaching the cross roads - will digital agencies become the new behemoths, like the traditional ad agencies are now, or will they get swallowed by the traditional agencies?
It's a question of who will prosper - and some traditional agencies are appearing more and more like dinosaurs.
However the major advantage above the line agencies have is that they have very senior client relationships - in some cases with CEOs or Chairmen of the Board.
This means they are holding all the cards - if they can adapt, then they have the upper hand.
What are the most important online brands?
Simple, yet incredibly effective and original (in the case of Ebay).
In Ebay's case it also demonstrates the power of word of mouth, and the amplifying effect the internet has on it. If you post something on a blog, there is the chance that thousands of people will see what you have written, and then act on that, or write something themselves.
TV advertising did not kick start Ebay - people did.
What is your favourite piece of communication currently?
The Volkswagen Golf GTI and Jetta site - (find it here) where you can build your own cars and in the case of the GTI see it being raced round a track with a the stunning Helga, and in the case of Jetta crash it into a bizarre range of stuff.
It is an example of true interaction and of the combination of extreme personalisation the web can provide and meaningful brand experience.
Digital is the only way something like this can be done.
Many more interviews to come. Nigel talks about grads here.