PHX Ad Executive: “Hello, nice to meet you!”
Me: “Nice to meet you too! I’m looking forward to hearing your advice and perspective. Eventually, I’m considering moving back home to Arizona. Do you have any advice about breaking into ad agency world here in the Valley?”
PHX Ad Executive: (jokingly) “My best advice is: don’t leave New York.”
This is a summary of my first networking conversation here in the Valley back in 2014. While the other person said it with a smile, it still made me pause. What would it be like to leave New York City – arguably the world’s mecca of advertising – and start anew in a smaller market? Sure, I’d leave behind clients with $300 million in media budgets and there’d be fewer agencies to explore, but would there be significant trade-offs? As I planned for a growing family and felt an itch to move home, I’d find out before too long.
Fast forward to 2018 to my family’s cross-country move and after my first few months of advertising in Phoenix, I couldn’t be happier with my new career. Here’s why:
- Everywhere I turn, new challenges and learning opportunities await. A lot of the work I’m doing for my AZ clients, while familiar, still feels new because it’s different than the majority of the work I did for my NY clients. For example, in NY, my clients had public relations armies internally or they hired an entire PR agency. In AZ, PR folks sit 15 feet from me. Learning through osmosis is fun!
- What I love about account management is the same everywhere. What gets me up in the morning is serving clients, opening lines of communication within the agency and finding solutions. That foundation is still the core of the job description.
- “There’s an app for that.” Seriously! Perhaps all my three former NY agencies are all old school but interviewing at agencies here in AZ revealed that “process apps” are a way of life. And, they’re awesome. These apps create a lot of synergy and efficiency in the way we communicate and work together, and I’m jazzed about it.
- Efficiency is a craft. In AZ, it’s not about the awards or the swanky million dollar TV shoots. Because budgets are smaller, there’s a commitment across agency teams to bring forth smart, cost effective, ROI-based solutions. It’s a priority, and it’s refreshing.
When one considers the origin of “Off Madison Ave,” the obvious implication is that the agency isn’t in New York City. But, there’s also a double entendre to it, signifying a spinoff from the traditional agency, and that is what’s been fun to experience.