A message for new hires everywhere: Getting up to speed on ________ in 30 days or less
Published August 11, 2016 9:48 pm by
Categories: The business of marketing
Joining LoSasso, armed with prior agency experience and a freshly-minted college degree, I was eager to become a part of the team.
One of LoSasso’s greatest strengths is how well we tap into niche industries. But when I started, I felt like my coworkers were speaking another language.
I knew I had some catching up to do.
Learning about clients in markets you know nothing about can be intimidating. But, for interns and senior account managers alike, it is crucial to be on the cutting edge of a client’s industry in order to best represent that client’s every need.
Here are some of my tried and true ways to get up to speed in order to hold my own with coworkers and clients alike:
Stalk the server
If I’ve learned anything in my agency career, it is that nothing gets deleted. An agency’s server is like a walk through its history with each client—and is an invaluable resource when trying to get your footing. Those first few awkward days at your desk offer plentiful time to click through folders that look interesting and look at final files from previous campaigns to see what work your agency has done for its clients in the past. Every client was once a new client, and there is almost always a document somewhere that was used to introduce that new client to the agency—and now, to you.
Take it upon yourself
Although your coworkers and superiors will onboard and help familiarize you with your agency’s client base, it is important to be generally knowledgeable about the industries your agency’s clients work in. Study industry websites, product images and leading publications in different fields to understand market landscapes. Doing your own research also shows initiative—and makes a great impression on your new boss.
Relate everything to your life
New clients can be hard to wrap your head around, especially when their industries seem far removed from your life. It’s important to find a way to bring those clients back to yourself. Metalworking, a specialty for LoSasso, seemed hard to relate to until I learned about the nuances of metalworking in fields like medical technology and aerospace—industries that produce things like planes and prosthetic knees to keep us moving forward every day. Or, take foodservice—another big name for our office these days—where different types of restaurant equipment can completely alter how long your food takes from the time you order to the time you take your first bite. Overall, B2B clients might not directly affect you the way B2C brands do, but they power a lot of behind-the-scenes processes, and you, as their agency partner, get to help them do that.
This is a tip I’ve been given by every mentor I’ve ever had, and it rings true when learning about new industries. Many tasks you are given as a new employee are tasks that can easily be completed without deep thought. I recently uploaded more than 250 photos to a client’s website. While it is easy to put headphones on and zone out as you drag-and-drop, it’s valuable to think about what you are doing as it relates to the greater picture in order to glean everything you can from those small tasks. Study the pictures you are retouching, read the text on the website you are updating, ask what the next step is once you complete your assignment and find ways to get more involved.
Learning about a new industry can be overwhelming, but nothing is more rewarding to you and to your teammates than going above and beyond taking personal initiative to integrate into the team. Working for niche clients is a learning curve. But, if you know how to ride the curve, it can be exciting and fun.