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Monday, December 15, 2008

Advertising Educational Foundation (AEF) - Project Managers' Friend and Foe

I was surfing the ad agency advocate sites and came across the Advertising Educational Foundation (AEF), which initially drew my ire. When I came across a section of well-articulated advice from industry veteran, Bruce Kelley, Vice Chairman, The Martin Agency, my temperature came down a few notches.

Guess what position isn't even mentioned among those detailed by the AEF on their Careers in Advertising page. Not surprisingly, Project Management doesn't make the list among: Account Management, Account Planning, Creative, Media, Market Research -not even a mention of Project Management in their general bucket of Interactive Marketing. Not that I expected much from an organization with such traditional roots. However, one might expect more from a board that includes the forward-thinking, power executive, Shelly Lazarus, Chairman and CEO of Ogilvy and Barry Wacksman, EVP & Chief Growth Officer R/GA, a stand-up guy who is as progressive as they come.

I know that my ire about Project Management being a missing link is a variation on the theme introduced in my December 8 post on Account Management / Project Management partnership. But their crime of omission bears repeating - especially from an organization that misses so big as it seeks to enrich understanding, which is expressed in their Mission Statement: ". . .the advertising industry's provider and distributor of educational content to enrich the understanding of advertising and its role in culture, society and the economy."

I'm not feeling too terribly negative today, so I offer this very strong contribution from the AEF site as well: Bruce Kelley, Vice Chairman, The Martin Agency is arguably part of the old guard agency establishment. However, the guy has a lot of experience and you'd be a fool not to at least listen. Although his advice is offered for Account Managers (I'll forgive his omission in this context), the section he authored on the AEF Web site, Memos for Account Management, is fine reading, especially for Project Managers. If this kind of thinking permeated the entire marketing ecosystem of agencies, publishers and third parties, the world would be a more orderly place - right, that's what we project managers are after? Among the topics he covers are: How to Push Back, How to be Proactive, Handling Crisis and How to Think Defensively.

One would think that just having these topics up for discussion among colleagues in an agency has got to foster a productive working environment that is marked by better collaboration internally and with clients. Although, you never know - the distance between memos, theory and on the ground experience can be vast. Would love to hear from any of you Martin alum or clients.

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