The strategy behind a simple marketing campaign can often go unnoticed.
What’s the call-to-action? When do we run the ads? How do we mesh creative and copywriting? And maybe most importantly… what’s the why?
The mix of strategic and tactical decisions isn’t linear and takes the right kind of person to be successful.
With plenty of work to be done by marketing agencies in agriculture, we decided to get a ‘hot take’ from two leaders who are constantly on the hunt for smart, driven talent.
We chatted with two agency leaders, Courtney Rude Lamie of BLNKPG and Devin Martin of Bader Rutter, to gauge what it takes to be successful and how to land a career in agriculture via an agency.
Magnetic: What are some of the key skills and traits you look for in Account Executives/Managers who own relationships with ag clients? What do you define as ‘cream of the crop’ when it comes to people who excel in that type of role?
Courtney: I find that successful account managers are generally people who like to think, work and do. They have to be both detail-oriented and like to complete projects, but they also need to keep a strategy in mind at all times. You have to work with many types of people with various types of working styles. Great communication skills should go without saying in a communications role! But it's phone, email and meeting etiquette that grows the relationship with a client and communication is key to that success.
Devin: We like to think beyond direct industry experience when assessing a candidate. Although any form of connection to agriculture, farming, animal health, etc is awesome and icing on the cake! We look for people who can form strong relationships internally and with clients, people who are naturally curious, self-motivated and are critical thinkers.
As more agtech companies come on the scene and even traditional agribusinesses become more tech-savvy, how does that change the type of team members you are looking for? How can candidates level up to be prepared to work on more tech-related products and services for clients?
Courtney: Having a deep understanding of media channels and digital marketing isn't a must, but being willing to learn and being a natural problem-solver will serve this role well. Marketing is always changing, media is always changing, agriculture is always changing - so you have to be willing to keep up, or you're not bringing the best possible ideas.
Devin: Absolutely more and more of our openings are digital and technology focused. For those skillsets, having a backgound in agriculture tends to be less important than staying up-to-date on the technology and trends. Things like data science, analytics, user experience and back-end development continue to be growing specialties – focusing studies in those areas as opposed to general marketing/advertising courses would be most helpful
What’s the hardest role to hire for your team today?
Courtney: The most difficult role to hire would be a good account person - the skillset is diverse, plus having an ag background is a bonus. Hiring people in ag isn't just a pillar that aligns with our vision here at BLNKPG, it's a necessity to understanding the client's mindset. No, not everyone will know everything about soil health or bee hives or pig diets, but having that core work ethic and problem-solving mentality that comes from being in the ag industry is invaluable - and hard to find.
Devin: All of them! As the experts are saying, we are in “The Great Resignation”. But really, anything with a digital focus – user experience, developers, SEO/SEM experts.
For our college-aged readers who aspire to work at an agency, what classes or student involvement would you encourage to best prepare to work in an agency environment?
Courtney: Lots of people like to ask what the "typical day in the life" is like at an agency, I get asked that all the time. There is no "typical" day - every day is different because the work changes everyday. Marketing and communications classes are great, writing classes are better, internships are the best. If you really think you want to work in this field, go work at an agency as an intern to get a good feel. They are not all the same, but the pace, people and processes will give you a great idea. Also, feel free to reach out about job shadowing. Even just following someone around for a day or two can be enlightening.
Devin: Any marketing and advertising-focused courses are of course helpful. We often will look for interns who have had previous agency experience so setting yourself up early to secure one of those coveted spots is important. Suggestions for that is to do your research and make connections within the agencies you are most interested in. Seek those places out at Career Fairs or connect with employees on LinkedIn. Be thoughtful and prepared when approaching someone. Absolutely get involved in organizations that make sense for you like NAMA, AFA, FFA, etc.
To see more interesting roles from companies like BLNKPG and Bader Rutter, check out featured jobs on the Magnetic Job Board.