Aidan Danaher works at Fifty Five and Five, an agency he says has “the most comprehensive selection of teas in our pantry that you could wish for.”
Aside from making such bold claims, we found out what Danaher does every day and asked him for a few words of advice.
Please describe your job: What do you do?
I’m Account Director at Fifty Five and Five, a digital marketing agency based in London. I manage our marketing and client services team, while also being responsible for some of our biggest clients, and helping them with strategy through to execution and reporting.
Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
My direct report is to our company founder. I sit on the Senior Management Team and was the first employee to join the company, after working with Chris (our company Founder) in a previous role.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
Being inquisitive, personable and always asking why.
For me, having a split between building client relationships and management of a team it’s about thinking like the client, and asking questions – “is this valuable?”, “Does it benefit what we (the client) do?” You have to add value, and justify that value, so that’s always in the front of my mind.
With the team, everyone leads in a different way, I like to be totally transparent and honest and lead through experience. If it’s good, let’s celebrate the work, and if it’s not so good, you learn from it, take it on board, and make sure those mistakes don’t happen again.
Tell us about a typical working day…
I’m usually up early with my 1 year old son, we’ll have a bit of play time before the commute into London where I’ll listen to a podcast and prep for the day ahead. Once at work, the day starts with our daily stand-up, where people run through their priorities and what they’ll be working on – it’s something that’s so simple as a concept yet hugely valuable.
It’ll then be a mix of client calls, speaking with the team about the projects they’re involved in, and looking at future work and planning.
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
Seeing people grow within the company. I’ve been lucky to see the development of a lot of our people, and that progression is extremely fulfilling. I also love working for an agency; the pace, the variation in work, the different campaigns, it’s full of challenges.
What sucks, the agency/client relationship can be tricky at times. Nothing more frustrating than a non-communicative or un-engaged client.
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
From a business perspective, it’s about quality control and client growth. Making sure what we’re delivering is consistently up to standard, while also adding to the number of ‘pillar clients’ we have.
What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
Feedly: I start each day by reading something topical for 10/15 minutes, which can either benefit the team from a knowledge point of view, or help on something we’re working on.
Asana: Our bible, where all our projects, clients and tasks live. It’s the heartbeat of our company and keeps everything ticking over.
Talking: Nadine Young spoke about the importance of relationships, which I agree with enormously. Tech has filled a lot of gaps but talking to each other is still the most valuable.
How did you end up at Fifty Five and Five, and where might you go from here?
I met Chris while working at the BBC together on a tech project. A couple of weeks after our contracts finished, we caught up for a coffee, Chris outlined this semi vague plan to start a marketing agency, and wanted to see if I was interested. Five years later the rest is history. We’ve achieved year-on-year growth, built our own industry tool, count Microsoft as a key client, have offices in the US, and have the most comprehensive selection of teas in our pantry that you could wish for.
Which campaigns / experiences have impressed you lately?
This SEO campaign by IKEA was brilliant. They saw that their audience was spending less time watching TV or reading the paper, and more online, and using Google to answer every question they had. So they renamed key products to reflect some of those most popular questions being asked on Google – a daybed for example became, ‘My Partner Snores’. I love the creativity, and the personal connection it created through humour.
What advice would you give somebody beginning their career in account management?
- Always think as if you are the client
- Take notes – capture every detail from a call/meeting/brief, it could be in invaluable
- Prepare fully – a simple task, can make you stand out from others
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