Get a bunch of agency-side communicators in a room together and the conversation invariably shifts to client work. We’re known as a group that likes to talk (communicators, natch) and luckily it’s a congenial business. We have a tendency to share what worked and what didn’t with colleagues and competitors alike.
What’s the second most-discussed subject? Billing and experience. You see, when you operate on a time=money formula (most agencies bill in 15-minute increments), the value of those 15 minutes can vary greatly depending on who in your agency is billing the time. For instance, if a client comes to me for a bylined article draft on a subject within an industry I know well – that could take someone with 25 years of experience an hour to two. A more junior member of the team could fuss over that same draft for half a day. And then there’s the old, “how do I bill a client for thinking up a great idea in the shower” conundrum.
At Landis Communications, we’ve intentionally built an agency structure that is different from your classic account team pyramid (junior staffers on the bottom and then narrowing to team lead on the top). We are a group of experienced communicators who run accounts and implement programs. What does that mean? It means that the person talking to clients at weekly meetings and who is running the account keeps strategy top of mind, comes up with recommendations quickly, and can pitch media without a chain of approvals. And that equals service that’s both quick and valuable.
We like our flat-ish agency structure, and value our junior-ish staff to contribute ideas AND implementation. It’s still hard to bill for that ah-ha moment on an upcoming campaign that came to you in between the shampoo and conditioner, but our clients value the ROI more than the timesheet.