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Your business is my business

education Updated: Jun 09, 2010 10:13 IST
Vandana Ramnani

The customer is why you go to work. If they go away, you do too.

Nidha Luthra, who works as a brand solutions director with Thoughtblurb, an advertising agency in Mumbai, swears by the adage. Six years in the job and she’s already a director.

Her work profile requires Luthra to hunt for new businesses and serve as a bridge between her advertising agency and the client. “It is, therefore, essential to be aggressive and have great communication skills to be successful in this job,” she says.

Ask her why she got into this field and she will tell you that she always wanted to be an advertising person. And that there was no doubt that this is where she wanted to be headed. “I always wanted to be an advertising person. I always knew that I could handle people very well,” Luthra says.

Staying in focus helped. Soon after completing her graduation, she enrolled in a specialised course in marketing at the Symbiosis Institute of Business Management in Pune.

“A specialised course in the field always helps. It’s always good to have knowledge, background, know the jargon and be well read. Otherwise, one may just end up feeling like a fool on the job,” she says.

Her first assignment was with SAB TV. “I was given the job of servicing clients for four comedy shows as a junior client servicing executive. My first assignment was to coordinate with the client, look into the operational level of advertisements, and get approvals. It was all very exciting,” she points out. Ever since, there has been no looking back.

The most interesting part of her job is that it’s not mundane work. Every day is a new day. “One does not get bored on the job as one gets to handle a new brief almost every day.”

Her advice to youngsters wanting to begin their career in client servicing is, “Finish your MBA, otherwise you may end up getting a low salary.

Alternatively, one can enroll for a diploma in marketing or advertising soon after college. Ensure that you have some special skills, such as knowing what works best with what type of people and great communication skills. Good business sense is an asset. Last but not least, always remember that in advertising nothing is personal, nothing is a one-person thing. Everything involves teamwork,” she adds.

Finally, the job is about smart working and not just working hard.

What’s it about?
A client servicing manager is the face of an advertising agency. His responsibilities include understanding the client’s needs and expectations. In fact, the advertising process begins with the client servicing person visiting the potential client for a brief. He then needs to communicate this to his agency. His job is to hunt for new business and be a bridge between the agency and the client.

Clock Work
8.30 am: Get up to phone calls from clients, boss, juniors
10 am: Hold meetings with the team, brainstorming, competitor analysis, client brief
11 am: Meet up with a client, get a new brief, sit with the company’s team, follow-up on payments
4 pm: Return to office, put down the brief on paper, sit with the team and discuss the assignment
Handle two to three clients till about 8 pm.
9 pm: Call it a day

The Payoff
Management trainee: Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 a month. An MBA can get Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 a month, depending on the size of the advertising agency
Account executive: Rs 18,000 to Rs 20,000 a month
Senior account executive: Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 a month
Account manager: Rs 26,000 to Rs 34,000 a month
Account director: Rs 7 lakh to Rs 9 lakh per annum
Management supervisor: Rs 12 lakh per annum
Client servicing director: Rs 11 lakh to Rs 17 lakh per annum

Skills
. Ability to work hard and work under pressure
. Good communication skills and team spirit
. Good business sense
. Entrepreneurial skills

Institutes & urls
. Xavier Institute of Communication
http://www.xaviercomm.org/home/default.htm
. Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies (JBIMS )
http://www.jbims.edu/
. Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Pune
http://www.sibm.edu/
. Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Delhi
http://www.iimc.nic.in/training.html

How do i get there?
It’s essential to enroll for a diploma in advertising or marketing soon after graduation and before getting into the job. Alterna- tively, one can do an MBA degree before entering the advertising world.

Pros & cons
.
One does not get bored as there is something new everyday
. One has to travel a lot
. High stress levels
. Late nights


You should be passionate about it

An experienced professional talks about the qualities you need

What skill sets are required to become a client servicing manager?
In order to become a client servicing manager, one needs to have a business bent of mind, limited not only to servicing a client but also having the ability to think on his behalf. A client servicing manager is the face of the advertising agency and the voice of the client when s/he interacts with the creative team. His or her goal is two-pronged — increase client’s business and sell the advertising agency’s award winning creatives to the client so that it brings in business. A client servicing person, therefore, needs to be a strategic thinker. He must remember that his salary is coming from the client. He or she needs to strike the right balance — it’s a very sensitive job to be in.

How did you get into client servicing?
I got into advertising purely by accident. I always wished to be close to the brand. Sales was something that I did not want to get into — so I decided to get into advertising. My first job was with TBWA as an intern management trainee. The basic skill sets one requires include basic business sense, ability to evaluate creatives from the consumer’s point of view, communicate the client’s vision to the creative team and the ability to sell the idea, after it has been made by the creative, to the client.

Your advice to youngsters wanting to take up client servicing?
If you’re looking for money don’t think of client servicing. Think of this option only if you have the passion for it. It’s important to know that you may reach the CEO level but the general public may still not know you. If you’re looking for fame, it is the creative side that you should consider joining and not client servicing.

Ratna Kaknani Interviewed by Vandana Ramnani

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