Role Book: Digital Advertising Agency

Digital advertising (done correctly) can take businesses to new levels of success. It’s an art. It’s not for the faint of heart. And, it’s certainly much more involved than simply building a site on Weebly. A kickass digital advertising agency employs layers of experts – all of whom work to combine modern online technologies with traditional offline methods in order to attract, engage, and delight clients on a daily basis.

Most of all, however, the best digital advertising firms use creative designs to breathe life into the visions of their customers. They define, design, and deliver. They strive to question the status quo. They collaborate and strategize. And, above all else, at the very core, each team member has an innate curiosity and team-oriented mindset.

So, what roles make up a good digital advertising firm?

Creative Director

The begin all and end all – a creative director brings innovative vision and extraordinary interpretation skills to the table. Focus, resiliency, and efficiency help the creative director flush out the best in both people and products. They possess a wealth of experience in consulting, and that insight ultimately helps guide others to a final product worthy of the company name (sorry, new grads – this likely won’t be your first job title).

A creative director must have focus and an analytical mindset, along with diplomacy and courage to effectively work with a diverse staff. Newsflash – advertising agencies are comprised of creative, imaginative thinkers… It’s not all pant suits and briefcases. A good creative director is able to harness all of the creative energy swirling around the office and develop advertising schemes for clients that help them sell products and services.

Project Manager

A strong project manager is uber-organized and skilled in solving complex problems in a simple way. This is the person in the office who keeps an eye on workflow and deliverable accountability at all times (yikes). Hitting deadlines is their specialty. Checking items off a to-do list makes their hearts skip a beat. If you see them standing in your doorway, watch out!

In addition to managing processes, project managers often wear multiple hats – they are team builders, communicators, problem solvers, educators, and detectives. They have the vision to see the big picture and the competence to understand that all parts of the digital advertising machine are essential.

 Lead Developer

When your creative staff comes up with an out-of-the-box website concept but wonders if it can ACTUALLY be done, you want your developer’s answer to be a resounding “yes!” Smart digital advertising agencies find (and keep) themselves a coding genius with mad development skills because a great programmer makes life SO MUCH EASIER.

Not only should your lead developer be someone who loves to solve puzzles, but they also need to be interested in the business (and understand the importance of deadlines). Developers build and maintain the sites that your company creates. Read that again… Developers BUILD and MAINTAIN the sites your company creates – long story short, they are the cornerstone of a digital advertising agency! Treat them well (and always keep their favorite caffeine source stocked).

Director of Digital Media

The director of digital media is an advertising savant fluent in client satisfaction. He or she has an uncanny ability to see the big picture, and knows the idiosyncrasies of each audience – which are, perhaps, their most important qualities. Directors of digital media don’t have the luxury of being slackers. They are the ultimate consultant, so being even a day behind on current trends means that they’re up the creek (without that ever-important paddle).

This person is not just a great salesperson; their capabilities go far beyond that. Directors of digital media are in a constant state of brainstorming. Their love of market research and web analytics sets them apart, and their years of experience gives them a unique perspective for each and every client.

Art Director

The art director is the creative guru – they have an unlimited imagination for print and digital branding. Their years of design experience gives them an ability to see things in a way no one else can, and their talent for inspiring fellow team members always brings out the best in others.

Being collaborative, with the ability to think strategically and creatively, is essential. Art directors possess a thorough understanding of photography, typography, and printing, and often commission specialists in order to complete campaign projects. They take words and create pictures, and are ultimately responsible for bringing the customer’s vision to life.

Interactive Designer

Art makes you feel something, while design makes you do something – great interactive designers use their abilities and knowledge to facilitate both. They are the makers of magic!

These individuals are naturally creative and innately interested in the evolution of design. They are responsible for creating the overall look and feel of a wide range of interactive communication products (ranging from logo creation to front-end web design), and the truly great ones make even the most complex information understandable (interactive designers love infographics)!

Brand Strategist

The brand strategist is the office’s “glass half-full” thinker. This person has a keen eye for design, but also an intense focus on deliverables. A GOOD brand strategist has the ability to take in large amounts of information and then concisely and logically explain it to a client. A GREAT one does that AND generates excitement and anticipation in the process.

The brand strategist is the “authority” with clients, and their confidence and capacity for empathy builds a level of trust that may not otherwise be achieved (if you can’t confidently look someone in the eye, this is not the position for you).

Visual Media Manager

A visual media manager’s day is never the same, which is a good thing for this free-spirited type of individual. They view the world through a (literal) lens –  and can find beauty and uniqueness in even the most mundane things.

Technical skills are invaluable and the strongest agencies will employ photographers who are also certified by businesses like Google (insert our shameless plug for Google 360 Street View for Businesses here… wink, wink).

Content Marketing Manager

The content marketing manager is the new-age copywriter – an in-house wordsmith and brand storyteller with the ability use content strategy at the drop of a hat. They have an inbound marketing mindset, but even more, they realize that (despite the pretty pictures and fancy fonts) today’s readers will only stay if the content is worthy of their time.

Content marketing managers, like their copywriting counterparts before them, still agonize over adjectives, BUT their ability to weave a great story is now intricately intertwined with a proficiency in SEO and inbound marketing techniques. An exceptional content marketing manager can convey exactly what the customer is thinking – even when the customer can’t articulate those thoughts on their own – and often is able to inject a sense of humor and lightheartedness into their creations.

So, what’s the take-away here?

A digital advertising firm isn’t a one-man show… it takes a village (to raise a superior advertising strategy).

Great digital advertising firms don’t simply employ team members – they employ a TEAM OF LEADERS; dreamers and thinkers who can turn words into pictures and pictures into words!