Project managers are a fairly standard feature of corporate culture and most businesses of a certain size require capable and experienced project managers to ensure unimpeded workflow and consistent day-to-day operations. That said, project managers don’t always remain within the corporate setting. At some point, you may find yourself moving from an in-house, corporate team to an ad agency. What does such a transition entail? What can you expect when you become an ad agency project manager?
When you work in-house for a company, you have the opportunity to gain intimate knowledge of its inner workings which is essential for presenting an accurate brand image through advertising. As an employee, you are part of a team and privy to the company’s mission, goals, relationships and performance, not to mention the values and the corporate culture. All of this allows significant insight into how best to represent the company.
That’s not to say you can’t find ways to gain similar information and insights into client companies for the purposes of agency project management, but you won’t be starting out on the same footing. In addition, you’ll likely find yourself relying on those within client organizations to provide you with needed details, not to mention possibly trying to coordinate with incompatible systems. This could impact your ability to deliver excellent ad agency project management.
While you may find it hard to adjust when you move from in-house to ad agency project management, there are benefits to be gained from working with a diverse array of companies. Many ad agencies tend to specialize and target specific industries. This will provide you with a greater understanding of an industry as a whole, helping you to develop insights that can benefit many clients.
Even though it will take some time working with specific clients to get to know their brands and develop their particular images, you will bring something to the table that an in-house team might not. Specifically, an entirely new take on their branding efforts and their marketing campaigns, some of which we’ve looked at here. As your expertise grows, you’ll become a more valuable team member, whether you stay with agency project management or revert back to in-house work at some point.
Project Managers Win
Employees at advertising agencies often have a strong background in traditional pursuits like marketing and branding, but rarely have considerable experience when it comes to the organizational aspects of projects. This can be a real drawback when it comes to working with a team or collaborating with client in-house teams.
Your previous experience as an in-house project manager can be of great benefit in agency project management and you’ll have the opportunity to shine in ways that traditional marketing experts can’t. Your abilities to plan, organize and administer tasks and resources, controlling costs and timelines and minimizing risk, will serve you and your clients well.
Another big difference is who is your “customer.” For in-house teams, marketing serves the needs of all outward facing points of the business, from company events to product teams to executives. However, for agency project managers, now you are handling accounts across different customer clients, each with their own processes and unique requirements. It’s essential that you have the client services tools to support them. Tools that help you manage and track the services the agency provides and the resources at hand to provide them, such as Clarizen’s cloud-based project management software, which allows for external communication, collaboration, resource tracking and much more. With the knowledge and tools you bring to your position in ad agency project management, you’ll have everything you need to succeed, even in a very different work environment.