Spotlight on Gregory Parker, VP of Client Services

Intern Interview – Hillary Bergman

Hey everyone!!  I am Hillary, the newest Digital intern at Bayard Advertising Agency.  Throughout my summer here, I will be interviewing some of the people who have made Bayard what it is today. This morning, I met with Greg Parker, VP of Client Services here.  Currently in his 11th year at the firm (starting out at Sherman Advertising, our real estate branch), he was able to give me a ton of insight into the industry, as well as its benefits and how to make it.  Read on for a compelling yet quick glimpse into the lives of one of Bayard’s most accomplished executives.

Greg Parker working hard at the New York office.

Greg Parker working hard at the New York office.

Q: What skills or talents and personal qualities do you believe are required for someone in such a competitive industry?

A: Definitely attention to detail, an organizational approach in a timely manner and obviously, getting the assignment done properly and correctly.  You need to have the ability to speak with a client, understand what they want and be able to communicate that to the art department.

Q: What do you like most about what you do?

A:  The process. Starting out with an assignment or project, figuring out the needs of the client, and completing the list of tasks and carrying it out.  And also the people I work with.

Q: Tell me about a typical day in the life of, well, you.

A:  Every day is literally different.  I come in on Monday with an empty calendar, and somehow by Wednesday I have gone to a ton of meetings and the calendar is filled. When I come in in the morning, I review the list of the day, and deal with issues that have come up overnight since I left for work.  I prepare for meetings; I have a lot of meetings and conference calls usually in the afternoons.

Q: Do you do anything outside of your position for the company?

A:  Well, I deal mainly with trucking, but there’s LG Solar that I work on which is cool because it’s a consumer product.

Q: What does a typical career path look like for someone in the advertising industry?

A: Starting out somewhere in account services, like as an assistant account executive or an account executive.  If you can show them that you can carry out an assignment, even if it’s small, through media, art, and back to the client, and through all of the different levels of responsibility and show that you really own your assignment you definitely can move up.

 Q: What past experiences were key to your success at Bayard?

A:  You know, I said this in my interview actually, but being a waiter through high school and college.  Being able to manage 10 tables at a time, understanding that people will be impatient and rude, remembering their orders…working with the customers is like working with the clients.   Being able to keep a straight face, and the organizational skills I learned there definitely translate over to this.

Q: How do you see your division in the advertising industry changing within the next 10 years?

A:  I started in 2004 here, and I was doing 90% print ads, hardly any digital.   But now I’d say its 90-10 online versus print, and it’s going more so in that direction.  We used to have to cast a wide net with an advertising campaign, reaching maybe 30,000 people and the ad was not necessarily relevant to all of them, but now with being able to track cookies on the Internet and things like that, we can narrow our online advertisements to target a more compartmentalized group of people.

Q: What are the current trends in the industry?

A:  As far as degrees, a lot of people are coming in with marketing or communications or advertising degrees.  There are more online or digital ads.  Knowing how to use Google Analytics and such… it’s helpful to have that knowledge.

Q:  What do you think differentiates Bayard from its competitors?

A: The people.  The people on creative services, the digital team and the account team, and all of their expertise and care.  The leaders of those teams are smart, and can provide customers with the expertise that really puts us ahead.

Q: What are some of the more satisfying aspects of working at Bayard? 

A: It’s definitely nice to work at a bigger agency, with a small field.  I like that it’s family owned, and some of the people here have worked here 10, 20 years.  It’s very relaxed if you need to go to the doctor or an extra day off, as long as the work gets done.

Q: Do you have any advice for someone hoping to enter, or who has just started working in the advertising industry?

A: Get your foot in the door, and impress somebody.  Starting as an assistant account executive, you should really sink into your subject matter and own each assignment given.  Some people don’t carry out an assignment through the end, but you should really bring a project from the first step all the way through completion, and ask questions all along the way.

Q: What are some of the more interesting projects you have worked on at Bayard?

A:  LG Solar, and some of the trucking clients I work on; it’s a really fascinating industry, and one that I really didn’t know anything about beforehand, with its market place and media specificity.  Anything you can think of from a pen to a shoe has been on a truck. Also some of the real estate clients, after doing the marketing and advertising for a building and now it’s a part of the Skyline, it’s pretty cool.

Q: What were your pre-conceived notions about the advertising industry?  If so, were they met?

A: I actually didn’t have any, probably because Mad Men wasn’t out yet.  I knew I wanted to work for a small company so I could learn a lot and I wanted to be involved with something that included both business and creative.

Q:  What are some of the stereotypes you hear about the advertising industry?

A:  Well Mad Men is the barometer for it now, coming up with an idea and bring it into a meeting with the clients, but they don’t know the rounds after rounds of an advertisement, and all of the meetings and the long hours, and that is what really is our job.  No one is Don Draper.