In some professions you learn all you need to know in College. Advertising isn’t one of them.

Even if you hire people who studied advertising, chances are that they have never taken a course that will prepare them for what’s coming. And having people in Client facing functions that are lacking key advertising specific skills generates huge costs for the Agency

Here are five things that they need to learn.

  • To analyze. As with Doctors, Agency people need is to understand what the real problem is. Once they identify it, the solution is easier to implement. If they don’t know what the problem is, the Agency will spend huge amounts of resources throwing different solutions out until something sticks.
  • To sell. An Account person who does not know how to sell is like an Accountant who does not know how to handle numbers. If he cannot exert influence on his Client the Agency will be forced to expend huge amounts of time and money to cater to every Client whim.
  • To present. Presentation skills help the Account person sell more effectively, of course. But they also help position her with the people on the other side of the presentation… the more credible and successful she is, the fewer times the Agency will have to re-do things.
  • To negotiate. Agency life is one long negotiation. Dealing with Clients is as well. The better Account people are at it, the better the Agency will fare.
  • To inspire. This is the hardest of the lot. It needs a deep understanding of the creative process. It requires experience, intuition, patience and an ability to deal with ambiguity. If the Account man is unable to do it he will condemn the Agency to multiple false starts that cost a lot of money. When he learns to inspire he will become an invaluable asset.

If the Agency is not investing in the right sort of training and is not placing well-prepared people in front of the Client, it is making a very poor business decision.

It will not only affect its short-term results, but it will also place its long-term survival in danger.

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