The problem is in the period between 2001 and 2004 when the bubble burst and a number of people were laid off. Our industry went back to being scrappy and we fought tooth and nail to sustain our growth even though our audience was still growing at a very fast pace. During that period of time we spent all of our attention against getting stuff done, so to speak, and not enough time and effort against building process and training. As a result of this lack of focus we’re now saddled with too few trained people in too many management positions and the people on the ground and the people on the front lines are not properly trained and they lack the knowledge of their previous colleagues.
Agencies and Marketers are led by very intelligent people who were promoted into their positions because they were really good at what they do, but more often than not when you promote someone into a management position they get taken away from what they were really good at before and the skill sets that got them where they are today! When someone is a brilliant strategist, they get promoted to management and they stop doing strategy; and that is a disservice to them and the clients they work on.
When these people are promoted they tend to pay their attention forward rather than look behind them and the people who are tasked to replace them are not properly trained. How many media planners do you know who can calculate a GRP and can explain the difference between Composition and Coverage? How many media planners do you know who have been formerly trained in the art of advertising? In far too many cases we see media planners who are trained to drop placements into an excel chart and whose training in optimization translates to sorting click rates and cutting the lowest performers? This is not proper training.
Our growth depends on the people on the front lines being trained in the proper way to run business. They need to become advertising professionals, not excel experts with a little bit of management inclination.
How do we get those senior executives to take time for the “little guys”? How do we create an environment that fosters the education and development of knowledge?
That is a question we need to answer and hopefully we can answer it soon, before more dollars come back towards the digital environment.