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Why I love my job, but (sometimes) hate my industry

By Mike Fantis, managing partner



The Drum Network article

This content is produced by The Drum Network, a paid-for membership club for CEOs and their agencies who want to share their expertise and grow their business.

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September 4, 2017 | 5 min read

You will have heard the reasons why people love working in digital thousands of times – it’s fast paced and exciting; it is constantly evolving and changing; working in an agency means no two days are the same… Blah, blah blah. The truth is, I'm no different. I love my work and count myself lucky that I don't dread the thought of Monday mornings.


This being said, the digital industry is by no means a bed of roses. Here are eight problems with the industry – not ‘top five’ or ‘top ten’ (which, folks, is a bonus gripe).

The use of the word guru

Looking through digitals’ LinkedIn and Twitter profiles you are guaranteed to spot a few ‘gurus’. According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of the word guru is ‘a Hindu spiritual teacher’. Somehow I doubt that every digital specialist ‘guru’ out there is also enlightened on the Hindu faith and religion. Stop using it, please.

Obnoxious event networkers

What typically happens at industry events is it becomes hard to ignore the booze-fuelled battles of the ‘one-upmanship’ game. This game includes someone aggressively listing all their ‘achievements’ – the clients they work with, who they’ve had meetings with, why they are so wonderfully successfully – the list goes on. The listener(s) is then expected to reciprocate in order to prove their worth.

This dick-measuring contest is not fun. Stop doing it. Once the event is over people will forget about you, and all that will remain are your social media accounts claiming your ‘guru’ status.

Lazy sales people who kill relationship building

Following on from gripe number two, it’s now true that many people at trade events hide their name badges and avoid eye contact at all costs. This is the result of being hounded by lazy and aggressive sales people who seem to have forgotten that relationships take time and effort.

It is true that our actions are shaped by our experiences, so you can imagine how disastrous their previous encounters with digital media folk need to have been to cause them to avoid us like the plague.

Tyre kickers

There is nothing more frustrating than spending precious time preparing ‘urgent’ information or proposals requested at the 11th hour, for them to go absolutely nowhere, fast.

Being pigeon-holed for a service

When a digital agency wins a piece of business for a specific channel, it's amazing how quickly they become known for that one service. Trying to overcome this perception and remind people of the range of diverse services you offer is exhausting work.

People who forget they’re actually marketers

Too many people have become so caught up in the technology that they forget we are, first and foremost, marketers: digital is simply the medium. So many of the so-called ‘gurus’ recommend the latest initiatives and technology without pausing to consider things like user experience, other available channels and brand perception.

Poor remarketing execution is a great example of this. In fact, poor remarketing could have been a gripe on its own, but that would have been lazy of me.

Greedy clients

In at number 7, it’s an old ‘un but a good ’un.

Client: “Can you just do that for me quickly?”

Agency: “Is it in the scope?”

…. Need I say more?

And finally…

I hate that I love my job!

Despite all the above, digital has become my drug. Someone once said, “you don’t live, you just work”. Recently, it hit me that they’re wrong. I live through the enjoyment I get from my job; hitting client targets, receiving their gratitude and enjoying the people you work with is what makes it all worthwhile. "Where’s the negative?," I hear you say – addiction can take over your life.

Mike Fantis is vice president and managing partner of digital agency DAC Group.


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DAC is one of the largest independent digital media agencies in North America, with a growing international presence and offices in the US, Canada and Europe. We...

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