Your Strategy Job Description Sucks. Beat This One.
In 2005, this was my job description:
I liked it because it was:
If you’ve worked in high-performing agencies, doing good work is the rule, not the exception. There are high and clear expectations, you keep a job by achieving them, and you are surrounded by people who are running in a similar direction — and this includes the clients.
Agency life will always have its dysfunctions but agencies in which I’ve worked where good work is rare tend to:
- Not discuss the work and, instead, discuss numbers and internal initiatives
- Not be clear on what kind of work they want to do
- Allow any work to leave the building
- Not hold all departments to high expectations
- Fear the client
- Focus more on politics than output
- Not back their employees
This is one page and shows no logo or letterhead.
The 6 bullet points in the job description are the bulk of what a planner needs to do. If you went through these points every week then you could do your best to do your job.
It doesn’t get lost in itself or use long HR words.
5. An example
This document shows a head of planning’s values at work. High expectations, simple, specific, short. Good thinking is direct and doesn’t need dressing up.
I’ve posted it below because, when I Tweeted it, it caused some debate. Most of the debate focused on the role of a planner within an agency and to what extent a planner could affect the quality of the creative output. I understand the reaction to this and I share it below hoping for a few things:
i. To encourage you to use it as a building block
ii. To encourage debate about the role of planning
iii. To encourage you to keep things like this short and simple
Have at it — but, please be constructive.
The role of a planner is constantly changing and it should remain that way. It is important, however, that you are clear as to what I expect of you as this provides you with direction and gives me the ability to track our progress.
1. Job Description
As a planner, you are ultimately responsible for the quality of the thinking in the agency and therefore the quality of the creative output. As a planner you have the following basic responsibilities:
i. To provide clarity and direction on each account.
ii. To constantly bring the consumer perspective into the creative process.
iii. To stay in touch with society and the trends that are changing it.
iv. To have a strong one-on-one relationship with each of your clients.
v. To be able to consult on a marketing strategy level (not just advertising)
vi. To be fully integrated and have an excellent understanding of all disciplines in the agency.
2. Objectives 2005 (this is how I will evaluate you)
i. To establish a clear (written) direction for each of your brands
ii. To establish ‘direct’ relationships on each account with the senior marketers on the business
iii. To have measurement systems in place on each brand to track our progress. (You need to keep a log of our successes)
iv. To write at least 5 ‘outstanding’ (7+) briefs a year
v. To have made at least four pieces of 7+ creative
vi. To present at least one proactive ‘think piece’ to each client every quarter
vii. To increase our strategic profile by writing (and getting published) at least one article a year
viii. To bring in $50k in revenue through strategic projects or research.
ix. To conduct and moderate at least 8 groups a year
x. To specifically understand (and be able to communicate to our clients) our direct, database, online and promotional capability
xi. To complete one piece of training before the end of 2005
Next Steps: These are the objectives, I recommend that you spend some time putting together a plan on how you are going to achieve them and then we should discuss it together.”
Mark Pollard @ Mighty Jungle
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