I, Alana Mandel, started working at PMG only a few months ago. They brought me in as a contractor to work on a quick creative project, and then I didn’t hear from them for a few weeks. *Cue dramatic fears of inadequacy* It was like my freshman year of college all over again. Except instead of waiting for an overly stylish art dude to call, it was PMG.
I finally heard back and went through a slew of interviews until they let me hang around the office with my laptop, slingin’ pixels and looking up acronyms on InternetSlang.com. I was super excited to dive into the world of advertising, and PMG is turning out to be the perfect place to learn while simultaneously developing my design skills and natural born talent for karaoke.
Here are 5 things I’ve learned in my short time here with the masters of the interwebs:
1. Digital is WUSSUP. – This probably goes without saying, but just in case there are any other ex-design students out there idealizing print advertising, I will say this… Digital is WUSSUP. I’m not trying to knock print either. After all, that’s where my heart has belonged ever since the high school yearbook club. However, working in the digital ad space is such a stellar advantage for someone beginning their career.
From a design perspective, understanding how marketing works on the web is like having a special power that is super useful in our consumer-driven world. Let’s get real, that hand-lettering workshop was sweet, but skills that artsy are probably only ever going to be used in your personal sketchbook. Unless you plan on spending most of your days practicing in order to be good enough for hire, but ain’t nobody got time for that. And you went to art school, don’t you have loans?!
In the digital space, you’ll learn how to research trends and consumer markets and what the eff “vertical” really means. You’ll surround yourself with super smart people and feed off their brains in a cool, non-zombie kind of way. And then you’ll probably invent the next Facebook (go you!). Plus, ya know… it’s the future.
2. Social Media is legit y’all. – I used to be a little weary of telling my friends I worked in social media. I knew I might get responses like, “Oh, so you get paid to take pretty Instagram pictures?” To which I can now respond to with:
Brands are spending more and more on advertising through social platforms. And the way social marketers handle ad campaigns is non-traditional, forward-thinking, strategic, and fun. With brands weighing customer loyalty and brand sentiment so heavily, it’s becoming clear the benefit of a healthy social media budget. Social’s not going away no matter how many high-school friends you unsubscribe to on your News Feed.
3. Be nice and remember people’s names. − I understand when people preface introductions with “I’m probably going to forget that, I’m really bad at names,” but it doesn’t mean I like it. Or them. If you really have a problem remembering someone’s name, write it down. Maybe write it down with a helpful fact to trigger your memory: Jill from Facebook, witty, into cat costumes. I mean, you don’t have to get real detailed, but little reminders might help you come off as less of an entitled jerk.
Relationships are key. Relationships with our clients, our vendors, and each other are paramount in business and in life (aw). Developing those relationships and learning from those people can CHANGE THE FUTURE (awww). But for real, when was the last time anyone did anything important without the help of others?
4. Asking really works! − So you’ve been at your company for a little while now, and you like it but you’re conflicted because Debbie over there seems to be working on a super interesting project. You think, “man… Debbie sure does look like she’s having a blast working hard on that project, I wish I could do that.” Instead of quietly brooding over Debbie’s seemingly endless luck landing cool projects, just ask. “Hey Debs, I’m actually very interested in what you’re crocheting over there on your lunch break. Wanna teach me how?” Unless Debbie is a major bitch, you’re in! New fun project! You can probably apply this same principle to work stuff too.
5. Nobody knows how clueless you might be. – I think it’s really important to ask questions and learn as much as you can, but I also understand how intimidating being the new person often is. Sometimes it’s difficult to ask pertinent questions, especially during a meeting where the entire conversation is one big question: “What are they even talking about?!” This is when you whip out your notebook and jot down as many questions as you can.
For the first month at PMG, the majority of my meeting notes consisted of a “Look This Up” column and a lot of question marks connecting to arrows connecting to other question marks. After the meeting and the trying-to-save-face Google search, I’d ask for help. Luckily, I work in an environment that values the free exchange of knowledge and training, so anyone I’ve ever asked for help or clarity willingly offers a hand. If you care about growing in your field then take the first few months at a new job to Sham-Wow information left and right. Soak it up and share it with others in a dirty bucket.
Hopefully I’ll be back to discuss some more things. ‘Til then, Kerry Dean can answer any of your questions.