Unlike a traditional marketing project manager, producers oftentimes consider themselves creative team members instead of an arm of the account services department. They work to keep a strong pulse on the workload and morale of their people. While they aren’t full blown SMEs (subject matter experts), producers work to remain knowledgeable and fresh when it comes to the technical side of the work their team produces.
While producers wear a variety of hats – they are part project manager, part account services coordinator, production and traffic manager, operations assistant, and resources manager – there are a handful of particular skills that are necessary for success in this role. If you are interested in a job as an agency producer, or, if you think your team might benefit from bringing a producer on board, keep the following qualifications in mind.
The ability to remain calm under pressure.
We all know that in agencies things rarely go as initially planned. Clients have unexpected revisions or changes in direction, new clients come onboard and others part ways, and agency team members come and go. It is my job as The South Agency’s digital producer to know how to keep calm and also calm the nerves of others if and when plans go awry.
You may have heard the joke before that producers sometimes act as therapists. This is true. Producers should be someone their team can come to with work related struggles and calmly help them come to a solution. This will set them apart as a successful producer and overall team member.
Being an advocate for both their team and their clients.
Producers walk a fine line between internal team advocate and client ambassador. In our agency it is up to me to ensure our team member’s needs are met and that they aren’t overworked. At the same time, I am also, in a way, an extension of the client services team.
Producers should work to understand the needs of both their resources and clients. Meaning, if I get a client request that needs to go to our team, I have a checklist of things that I know our Art Director needs before he can proceed. Before I pass this off to our internal team I will make sure everything they will need is readily available. In that same vein, when I receive a deliverable from our creative team, I look at it through the lens of the client and check that it is accurate, of high quality, and in line with what was originally requested.
Technical and/or Creative Skills
Gone are the days of the traditional project manager or producer simply pushing papers and delegating work. In order to be truly appreciated by their team, producers should work to understand and hone in on their own skillset as it pertains to their agency’s specialties. This might mean basic coding capabilities, understanding content management systems, or having a working knowledge of creative tools and processes. Producers should take the time to gain insight into the day-to-day of the people they work with and figure out what knowledge they can gain that will help their team and ultimately make the overall unit more efficient.
Organizational, multi tasking, and decision making skills.
This one needs little explanation. Given the variety of things a producer is responsible for on any given day organization is key. Not only do I organize my own work and schedule but I’m also organizing the work and schedules of several other people. Take the time to research tools that will work best for your organization and take the lead on putting those into place. I promise, it’ll make yours and your colleagues lives easier. The tools that you put into place should work to make multi tasking second nature.
Agency employees deal with competing requests frequently. Prioritizing, and having somebody with the ability to have the final say in prioritizing will keep everyone on track. That is where decision making skills come into play. I have to be confident in my ability to make a decision and the effects of that decision on my team and our work.
Someone once told me they realized a few years into their career that they didn’t necessarily want to be the one winning all the awards and getting all of the recognition. Instead,they wanted to be the one behind the scenes supporting and empowering the people they worked with to be the ones in the spotlight. This resonated with me a great deal and I think this is one reason I love my job so much. By doing my job well, I’m providing an opportunity for others to do their jobs really well and, in our company, make some really incredible things happen.