The 2-Department Ad Agency

I was chatting up a job candidate recently, and he asked how I viewed the technology department. Being a charts and graphs kind of guy by nature, I showed him this:

Titles and org charts be damned, there really are only 2 departments in an ad agency. There's the People-Who-Make-The-Work-Better Department, and there's the People-Who-Don't Department.

Members of each department are scattered throughout an organization, but it's still pretty easy to tell the difference.

The ones from the People-Who-Make-The-Work-Better Department don't really care what their role is - they'll find a way to contribute.

You'll see these people come up with an idea. (Yes, even if that's not technically what they're paid to do.) Or they'll identify a technology that could bring the idea to life. Maybe they'll understand the budget only covers X, but Y and Z would make the idea more effective, and they'll take it as a personal challenge to make it work. Maybe they'll find a line from the CEO's last earnings call that helps sell the idea. Or maybe they'll be fostering a trusting relationship by keeping projects on time and on budget (a totally underrated skill if ever there was one). Maybe they'll create an even better user experience than originally sold-in. Or maybe they're someone who had nothing to do with the idea, but they'll suggest something in the hallway that makes the idea even better.

Generally speaking, these people don't understand the word "no." They don't ask "if" an idea can be done, they ask "how" it can be done. And they don't stop until it is.

As for the folks from the People-Who-Don't Department, there are unfortunately a plethora of ways they can accomplish their goal. They can be territorial (as in, that's MY idea, or that's not MY responsibility). They can be negative ("The client won't buy that" or "That's not what they asked for"). Worst of all, they can be misleading - promising to get things done then simply not doing them. There are plenty of reasons something can't, shouldn't, or won't be done, and the People-Who-Don't Department members know all of them.

Also, they innately know when it's 5pm.

People who are making the work better come from all "official" departments in an agency. You can say this reflects the collaborative nature of how marketing is done these days. But this 2-department structure has existed for years, really.

What's changed (for the better) is, their contributions are even easier to identify.


Me said...

Love the chart! Great post!

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Kathleen Steele said...

Totally agree with your opinion on Ad Department. I can add to this up to 9 facebook interaction tips that can help also in advertisement.