Hey Will. Thanks for being the first in the series of the Rally interviews.
Can you tell us about your role within Rally?
So I oversee our Account Management team and ultimately ensure that we’re delivering projects on brief, on time, and on budget. A significant part of my role is to encourage strong and lasting relationships with our clients, to help ensure that they’re meeting their business objectives.
Another great part of the role is working with my team to nurture any internal talents or extra personal learning objectives they might have. It’s important that the team have the opportunity to grow and develop alongside the work they’re already doing.
“It’s important that the team have the opportunity to grow and develop.”
How long have you worked here? What brought you here?
Just shy of three and a half years; May 2015 is when I started. I was actually Rally’s first hire, although Fei beat me as the first starter.
I got my degree in Business and Politics from Manchester University. My first graduate job was as a CRM Executive for a marketing communications company. When my partner and I moved to the South West I transferred to a new agency as an Account Manager, and then moved to Rally roughly a year after that – the rest is history.
What does your average day look like?
My mornings usually follow the same flow: up at 6am, cycle to work, and I’m normally at my desk by 8am. I spend the first half an hour or so identifying client work that needs to happen that day and identifying any clashes in deadlines. The agency’s first hour of the day is generally spent liaising between the Account Management team and the Studio to make sure that everyone is briefed and ready for the day ahead.
From there on in I could be doing anything... From internal project meetings, client presentations, and client strategy meetings, to big strategy pieces for Align Technology or Portman Dental Care, or reviewing email copy for DenGro. Anything from A-Z –no day ever looks the same.
“From internal project meetings to client presentations and client strategy – no day ever looks the same.”
So what’s your favourite type of day? Don’t say a Saturday!
Having first access to Spotify on the Sonos is always a bonus, although it’s never for long...
I’m probably at my happiest when I’m working on a task that I can see is going to make a tangible difference, whether it be internal, or client-related. It could be a new internal process that’s going to make a difference in the way we work or make us a lot more productive. Or working on a client project that represents a big step forward in their objectives.
We use a lot of tools on a day-to-day basis to help us schedule and manage our client work effectively. Do you have a favourite?
I’m super into a couple things at the moment, although I actually really like a lot of the tools we use. The combination of Harvest and Forecast is really great and something we’ve just utilised together. From an Account Director point of view, to be able to instantly understand how much time we’re spending on each project is really valuable.
“To be able to instantly understand how much time we’re spending on each project is really valuable”
I’m a Wunderlist guy! I’ve only recently started using it but it is really good – it’s just simple and it works. I like anything that just works, anything that doesn’t over complicate things. I think Spark is really good too, the ‘smart inbox’ view is great.
What’s the best thing about working at Rally?
Bit of a corny answer but I genuinely think it’s the team. An agency is only as good as its people, and we've got some super-talented people here.
“An agency is only as good as the people, and we've got some super-talented people here.”
We obviously have to utilise those talents to the best of our ability on the projects that we get but when we get projects that challenge people or that are slightly outside the remit that we would usually work on you really get to see how talented people are. Fei and Emma for example, have produced some amazing work on a recent project for Portman.
We’re a busy agency, what do you do to keep calm and focused? Do you have a hobby outside of work?
Riding my bike to and from work bookends my day really nicely, it gives me some headspace and allows some time to think. I cycle a lot at the weekends too.
I love music, it helps me focus. I always have my headphones on at my desk, it allows me to concentrate.
What are you listening to at the moment?
All kinds of stuff. It depends what I'm working on really and what my mood's like. So this morning I was listening to a guy called Ólafur Arnalds, an awesome Icelandic composer, that was really nice – it helped me to chill. I've just been to see him live too.
Yesterday I was listening to a band called Portico Quartet, I’m off to see them in March.
The word on the street/account management department is that you’ve just returned from a little holiday. Where did you go? We won’t be too jealous, promise!
I went to Aalborg in Denmark for a long weekend because my partner was attending a conference there. We thought it would be fun to visit a random Danish city.
Do you have any advice for anyone who would like to start a career in account management in a marketing agency?
Just say yes to every opportunity and then figure out how to do it afterwards. There are plenty of work experience opportunities out there that aren't necessarily in this field but can provide you with skills you can use as an account manager.
Equally, don't forget to have fun because agencies hire people, not robots.
“Just say yes to every opportunity and then figure out how to do it afterwards.”
Can you give us a peek into what’s in store for Rally in the next year
Internally, there's heaps of stuff going on. We've just undergone an office refurb; we've got an all agency away day coming up; and we've just confirmed what we're doing for our Rally Christmas, which is cool. We've also just had a new Data Analyst start with DenGro, Manon. That's just before Christmas – watch this space as 2019 unfolds in the agency.
From a client point of view, we have some really exciting opportunities coming up with Align which will totally change the way we communicate with doctors. With Portman, we're creating something that will really stand out in the marketplace. That’s all I can say for now...