By Andie Anderson
Hi! I am Andie Anderson. Okay, just kidding, I’m not.
But given what I’m going to write about today, I needed a pseudonym.
And what could be better than my all-time favourite movie character!
And since I am using her name, I decided to slip in her skin for a while and write a reverse how-to story, just like she did.
But before I start, I’ll take a few minutes of your time to tell you something about myself.
To begin with, I am a writer. After working for four years in one among the biggest organisations of the world, monotony got to me and I decided to change my job.
I always had an interest in digital marketing, so I decided to send my resume to marketing and advertising agencies.
The next thing I knew was that not only did I crack the interview, but I was being given a huge pay raise!
‘What else could I ask for?’ – I thought to myself, back then.
A few months down the line I have had plenty of answers to my own question.
I could have asked for a workplace that followed certain processes to make work easier for all.
I could have asked for a more professional environment and a senior supervisor who has a solution oriented vision.
Now I realise, these things weigh far more than a fatter paycheck – but you only realize it when you see what it’s like to work without them.
You may think I hate my new job or miss the older one – but that’s not the case.
I just feel that my current workplace (let’s call it RED & YELLOW GLOBAL DIGITAL AGENCY) can be successful only if it fixes a few basic aspects.
While earlier I thought that these points are only valid for RED & YELLOW DIGITAL.
But when I spoke to some friends working in other digital marketing or advertising agencies (all mid-sized startups with a stagnating growth), I realised that the situation is similar, even there too.
This means that all these places have their growth stagnating because they are following similar processes.
That is when I decided that I must write this open letter.
I’m addressing this to my senior management and owners of other digital startups, because they are the ones who are responsible for setting the work culture, in their respective companies.
Here are a few things you can do to make sure your digital marketing agency doesn’t do too well.
Here’s how you can stagnate its growth. Because that’s what my employer is doing.
1. Worship your client for their obvious superiority: Always remember this. Clients are meant to be worshipped. If they ask you to meet an impossible deadline, go against all odds to meet it.
If the client doesn’t send you a proper brief, never point it out – even if it means taking the blame later on not being able to deliver efficiently.
Remember, in order to make clients stay on-board so that they keep paying you, they must always be kept happy.
And to keep them happy, you must say ‘yes to everything that they say’ – even if it causes your employees an inconvenience.
Do anything but be assertive. Clients expect you to act like puppets and not a creative team when you go pitch for them.
2. Don’t focus on awards: Awards are overrated. You don’t need them.
What you need is more number of clients and you know how to bring them and keep them on board without something as trivial as an award.
3. Treat your employees like your slaves: You are paying them to work. And you own their lives. They must do as you say.
They are people you found smart enough to be hired. But don’t let them tell you how to work in order to bring about a positive change.
They are hired by you to take orders, not to bring about long-term beneficial changes. And it goes without saying that you must ignore their complaints.
If they are burning the midnight oil to work and sacrificing their weekends – they are paid to do so.
4. Discourage people from learning new things: Your creative writer wants to learn how the client servicing team works? You must stop this immediately.
You cannot tolerate people spending their time learning at work when they can be spending the same time working for you.
Your employees have been given specific roles and they must stick to their role.
5. Outdo your competitors by agreeing to work on lesser money: This is simply the best way to win projects.
And this way, there is less pressure of outdoing them on the basis of ideas and quality of work – because come on, you are literally charging the client, half the money as your competition!
Your client initially may feel that you lack somewhere and that’s why you are charging them less.
But the constant worship and having your team at their dispense 24×7 will surely make up for it.
6. Make new teams for every project: You can make specific teams that comprise of a client servicing person, a writer and a graphic designer and then assign projects teamwise.
Or you can get a client servicing to manage five projects, a writer seven and a designer nine – which means that there is a different team combination for every project you have.
It may make coordination tougher, but it means fewer employees and lesser salaries to pay.
7. Blame your client servicing team for everything: Another very major point is that you must blame your client servicing team for every single thing that goes wrong.
This will lead them to blame other people and you’ll eventually know whose mistake it was. And that’s far more important than fixing a mistake – isn’t it?
8. Have immense faith in verbal communication with the client: A die-hard lesson of pleasing your client is to not document information you receive via their phone calls.
This gives them the space of making you do several changes in one particular assignment.
It may take longer and your creative team may complain about having to work on the same assignment multiple times.
But just ignore them! At least the client will be happy with the final result.
9. Make sure your agency has similar accounts: Yes, what I mean is two shoe brands – who are competitors!
Just make sure they don’t find out.
Yes, your creative team may at times replicate content.
But you can hold them responsible for it once you blame the client servicing person and he blames them.
10. Label anyone who leaves as a ‘loser’: When your employees leave you, you label them as a loser who couldn’t keep up with the amazing culture of your agency.
They all go to bad places to work, because no place can be as good as your company.
Tell everyone else that they couldn’t keep up with the work pressure and they left because they weren’t good to be at your company.
(Andie Anderson is a pseudonym the author has adopted to protect her anonymity. If you wish to reach out to the author just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. PS: The author has resigned this week from her job!)