Which Agency Deserves You?

Perhaps it’s all the hype about the thousands of Internet-industry layoffs, but I got to thinking about the labor situation in agencies.

There may indeed be some folks out there who are looking for work in the online media industry, or perhaps are in the media industry but want to move over to the online side of things. Or maybe you just want to see if your current agency is really the right match for you. Well, being media folks, we should go by the numbers.

I’ve developed a quick quiz to determine the level of support and commitment your agency puts behind interactive work and interactive employees.

The ClickZ Quiz to Tell If Your Agency Loves You
(Eat your heart out, Cosmo!)

  1. Does your employer house the interactive group separately from the rest of the agency? If no, score 2 points. If yes, and it’s on a floor above the traditional media department, score 8 points. If yes, but it’s on a floor below the traditional media department, then score only 6 points.

  2. Without having prior permission, does someone in your interactive group have the authority to hire new people in the event a client wants to throw more business your way? If so, add 10 points to your score. If you’re not sure, assume the answer is no. Score 2 points.
  3. When conducting major new-business pitches, does the new-biz team get the interactive group in on the process at the very beginning? If yes, score 8 points. If they get the interactive group involved as an afterthought, score 4 points. If not at all, score 2 points.
  4. Does a new hire out of college make more money working in the interactive group than in the traditional group? If yes, score 8 points. If no, score 4 points. If you don’t know, then assume the answer is no.
  5. Does your interactive group have a different brand identity or sub-brand from the rest of the agency? If yes, score 6 points. If yes, and it’s been spun off and offers equity options, then score 10 points. If no, score 2 points.
  6. What is the average time an employee spends at your agency? Less than one year scores a measly 2 points. Between one and two years scores 4 points. Between two and five years scores 8 points. More than five years scores 1 point.
  7. How much in interactive billings does your agency handle? Less than $4 million scores 2 points. Between $4 and $12 million scores 6 points. Between $12 and $40 million scores 8 points. More than $40 million scores 2 points.
  8. How far from 50-50 is the gender split in your agency? A mere 10 percent deviance (for example, a 45-55 split) scores 8 points. A 20 percent deviance scores 5 points. A deviance greater than 30 points scores 2 points.
  9. What is the ratio of interactive media employees to interactive media billings? A ratio of greater than four people per $1 million scores 8 points. A ratio of one or fewer people per $1 million scores only 2 points. Anything in between rates 4 points.
  10. How many useless memos or emails do you receive from the agency corporate staff? If you receive more than four official communications per day, score 2 points. If you receive two or three communications per day, score 4 points. If you receive approximately one communication per day, score 6 points. Fewer communications than that will score you 8 points. If you receive a majority of these communications on colored copy paper, with different colors signifying different types of useless memos, then subtract an additional 6 points from your total score.

You can score somewhere between 19 and 84 points. If you scored below or above this range, you missed your calling in the account-services department, and you should not, under any circumstances, subject yourself to the math-intensive media industry.

If you scored between 70 and 84 points, you should be paying them to let you work there. If you scored between 50 and 70 points, you probably work in an above-average agency doing above-average work, and I bet you like your workplace. And if, by some chance, you happened to score 70 precisely, and you’re wondering which of those two groups to put yourself in, then you’re too mathematically anal-retentive, even for the media department, and you should consider the database group.

Scoring between 30 and 50 bodes ill. You are either too new to realize it yet, or you’ve already come to the conclusion that you plain don’t like it where you are. The agency doesn’t deserve you. Start interviewing.

If you score between 19 and 30, you should go home right now and take a shower. Never go back. You can buy new office supplies and make new friends.

In the interest of reader service, and to satisfy my lurid curiosity, please feel free to email me your final score. If you do, I’ll email you back the running average, so you can tell precisely how dismal you should feel relative to your industry compatriots. Don’t worry, I won’t name names. And don’t despair completely. Next week, I’ll be writing on how to find a good agency job in the interactive racket.

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