- Our Approach
The Lost Art of In-Person Conversation
A few weeks ago, I attended Second Wind’s Account Executive College training. As part of our final exam, I was asked to describe what I thought the future of the advertising agency business would be like. In thinking about this, I realized how fortunate I am to have begun my career as an account executive in the advertising world just as a host of new technological advancements have emerged. As a 20-something, I can appreciate the convenience that today's cool tech gadgets can provide. Between the explosion of tablet PCs and smart phones, and increasing adoption of Facebook and Twitter, we now have the ability to connect to anyone, any time (digitally, at least).
But, I have also been referred to as an "old soul." I love Led Zeppelin. I envy the Baby Boomers who got to experience Woodstock first hand, protest wars and wear ridiculous polyester clothes. So, call me old-fashioned, but I believe there is something truly unique about being able to discuss, argue and create ideas in person. Whether with a client or a design team, there are invaluable advantages to being able to read someone’s body language to get a sense for their opinion or feelings on a subject.
The cold connectivity of email, status updates and instant messages allows a lot of room for interpretation. Thanks to a poorly structured sentence, tone and meaning can get lost or be misread. If we're going to type our way through relationships with clients, we'd better put some heavy attention on spelling, grammar and general written courtesy. Still, I don’t think it makes up for a personal touch.
As advertising people, one of our passions is educating our clients on how to communicate a compelling message – to inform and persuade their audiences to make a decision. If this is part of our mission, we'd better be able to do it well ourselves.
We're relational beings. It’s healthy for us to get together. As I think about the future of the advertising agency business, I am hopeful that we will begin to bring things back into balance and figure out how to combine smart technologies with a human touch. Maybe it’s not the Mad Men, two-hour liquid lunch, or the cheesy gift basket delivery. But a stop and chat, a quick visit to see what your client is creating, a moment out of the desk chair – may help us avoid secretary’s spread and demonstrate a genuine interest in what our clients are doing. If account executives in my age bracket can begin to see the value in this, maybe we can truly become the strategic marketing partners that our clients are looking for, and build relationships that last.