Modern Marketing: Perspective From the Client Side


 Today marked my 365th day on the client side. One year in, I figured it would be worthwhile to offer up some perspective as I’ve transitioned from the service side to the client side. Previous to leading digital strategy and planning for the Big G division at General Mills, I spent 4,000+ days of my career working for service-oriented companies such as Colle+McVoy, space150 and Digital River.

This isn’t a post about whether it’s better to work on the client side or agency side. Rather, it’s about my personal experiences as someone who has spent time on both sides of the equation. Having said that, here are five insights I’ve discovered that mind the gap of the client/agency indifferences.

Purpose Inspires Creativity

Brands are at their best when the people who power them are inspired by purpose. Which means that client-side marketers need to clearly communicate the intent of their brand to agency partners. By doing this, agencies are able to do what they do best - come up with remarkable creative ideas.

Challenge the Status Quo Accordingly

Every company has a distinct culture. One that has been shaped by its heritage, which serves as the underpinning to its core behaviors and the manifest of what it feels like to work there. Purposefully challenging the status quo in these environments is a graceful balance of art and science.

Work/Life Balance is What You Make of It

Work/life balance doesn’t depend on where you work, it depends on what you make of it. There are just as many excuses to work late on the client side as there are on the agency side. Those who are the least efficient at managing themselves during the day are those who are e-mailing late at night.

Brand Strategy Should Be Led by Brands

Client-siders must be held accountable to creating brand strategy. That doesn’t mean they do it all themselves and tell agencies what it is. It means we get ourselves into the best position possible to structure brand meaning in a way so that anyone who comes across it is inspired by its definition.

Seek Inspiration Outside Your Walls

I’ve been fortunate enough to work with, and for, incredible brand builders. In fact, I mentioned quite a few of them in a recent talk I did on modern marketing. Even if you work with, or for, admirable modern marketers, relentlessly seek out people who inspire you to think differently.