"Must have digital experience". What does that mean, and how do you get it?!
It seems odd that in today's uber-digital world that agencies would still have to stipulate that they need their account managers to have "digital experience". Strange, but true!
Account Managers enter the advertising and design world through various doors. Some begin their career within agency, whilst a large number "cross over" from related parts of the industry (such as marketing, print, experiential, PR and media). Not all of these sectors and not all agencies produce digital-specific work.
What is now apparent is that the work of agencies (whether overtly digital or not) is starting to become blurred. "Digital" now pervades most of what we do in some form or another, and agencies realise that they need to embrace digital thinking in order to stay in business.
It is becoming mandatory for agency Account Managers to be digitally-savvy, so the great chicken-and-egg question is: how do you get that much sought-after "digital experience"?
What is "digital experience?"
To survive and thrive in an integrated or digital agency an Account Manager needs to know how to facilitate as many of the following types of projects as possible:
- eDMs, websites and apps (design, build and maintenance).
- Web, mobile, OnDemand and social advertising.
- Digital signage.
- Content marketing across multiple platforms.
- Social media marketing.
- Digital experiential campaigns.
How can you prove you have "digital experience"?
- You understand digital jargon and can interpret digital jargon for your clients.
- You keep current with new channels and trends.
- You can recommend digital solutions to your clients and team.
- You can confidently lead your clients through digital projects.
- You can prove experience through case studies.
- You know how to determine ROI for digital projects and campaigns.
- You know how to work with your digital planners, designers and developers to create a successful result.
How can you get "digital experience"?
If your current agency does not provide their clients with digital solutions, then you should seriously think about changing agencies to one which does (for the sake of your long-term career).
Your employability will depend a lot on your current level. If you are a junior, then moving is going to be relatively easy. It gets more challenging the more senior you are, however there are always exceptions to the rule. Many agencies are open-minded about taking on people with little-to-no digital background.
An agency may have to take a punt on you, so your job will be to highlight the value-package that you can bring to the table (to sweeten the deal, so to speak). This could include your previous clients, campaigns and agencies; strategic thinking; business development ability; how you contributed to increased agency and/or client revenue; etc.
Finding an agency willing to take a punt on you may just require more door knocking and more patience, but it will happen. The main thing to remember is: don't give up!
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