David Kean is the Sales Director for Europe for DAS, which is the largest division of Omnicom. For a brief explanation about who DAS are and what Omnicom is, click here - honest, it won't take longer than a couple of minutes to read.
Alongside this role, he has one of the most successful pitching records in the business and trains people on, amongst other things, presentation skills and basically how to win. And that's winning in the sense of beating everyone else by the greatest margin possible.
Anyway I spoke to him about advice for people who want to get into marketing and advertising. Enjoy.
Never Make Enemies, with David Kean
So David, what is it that you actually do?
I help companies that are client's of DAS surround themselves with as many services that can be offered by our agencies as possible.
Alongside that I work to try and improve our competitive pitch conversion and get more business out of exisiting clients. It's far more profitable to grow the business that you already have rather than try and acquire new business.
What motivates you, what makes you passionate?
I am very competitive and like to win.
What lesson, once you had learned it had the greatest impact on you?
Never make enemies - I fell out with a planner once and he ended up being my client a little while later.
What is your opinion of the graduates you see getting into the industry?
On the whole, they are a very able bunch and vastly more qualified than people of my age who got into the industry.
However I think that they get marketing confused with advertising a lot of the time.
Speaking generally, the blokes are not as mature as the girls. All of them but in particular the blokes need to realise the value in doing really thorough preparation, and what 'preparation' and 'research' really mean.
What advice would you give them?
That they have to be able to back up any assertions that they make, because people will call them on the statements they make - the key is to be graceful under pressure, don't get flustered.
Also in an interview situation, be aware that you are constantly being judged, even when the people in charge tell you you aren't. Be delightful to everyone, be supportive of everyone and remember not to be "me me me" but rather "us us us."
Rehearse your small talk - the topics you might cover, what you might say etc.
Ring the company you are applying for and ask who is going to be interviewing you, what the format will be, if other companies are presenting who they might be - you can't be too keen. Your initiative will get noted and won't come across badly at all.
As a graduate how would you differentiate yourself from the other applicants?
By not being arrogant and displaying a genuine passion and energy for the job and industry.
We don't want people who are considering management consultancy and banking as well; we want people who want to get into our industry.
Don't ever, ever be late for an interview or anything else for that matter - if you are late you might as well go home because you won't get the job.
If the format of the interview involves breaks for coffee or whatever, don't go and have a fag - stay in the room because that is your chance to shine.
Finally, what advice do you wish you had been given at the start of your career?
Keep a black book of everyone you know because when you want to start your own business that will be your bible.
Never be late. Ever.
Invest in yourself - buy some books, read some theory to back up your passion.
One book that David recommended to me at the start of my grad scheme was
How to win friends and influence people - it was written a while back but is still really relevant and well worth reading. It's not as cheesy as the title makes it out to be...
And finally, David himself has written a very good book on how to win pitches and present yourself and your ideas as well as possible - it's also well worth a read for anyone looking to get into the industry: